Artist speaks up against influencer: ‘Shoutout doesn’t pay bills or fill an empty stomach’

January 31, 2019 - 3:33 PM
Artist sketching a figure
In this file photo, an artist sketches a rough drawing of an individual. (Creative Commons/File photo)

An artist exposed on Facebook how an alleged influencer wanted to compensate him with a shoutout in exchange for an artwork saying, “Madali lang naman ‘yan.”

Urban planner Hans Alcanzare drew a portrait sketch of Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray and posted it on Facebook which caught the attention of an unnamed “influencer” who wanted to commission a portrait sketch of herself.

When Alcanzare informed her the cost, she told him that it was too expensive and offered to give him a “shoutout” instead because the artwork was supposedly easy to make.

Alcanzare shared that the alleged influencer has blocked him following the issue. Nevertheless, he posted his thoughts on Facebook and noted that people shouldn’t “look down” on artists and their arts.

While there were social media users who slammed the alleged influencer’s behavior, there were skeptics who questioned the authenticity of the conversation itself, claiming that it was “contrived” as a way to supposedly boost the artist’s exposure.

In the comments section, Alcanzare explained that he refused to reveal the alleged influencer’s identity since he does not want her to be “cyberbullied” in relation to the situation.

“This post is not intended to shame her, she has a huge number of followers on IG and YouTube subscribers. So I know na kapag I drop her name, siya nang next for cyberbullying. I’m just hoping this will reach her feed and ma-realize niya na ‘yung skills namin is not a joke,” he said.

Exposure is not payment

Similar instances have been exposed on social media where a known figure has commissioned for artwork and then offered a “shoutout” as a form of payment.

Last July 2018, actor Jameson Blake was slammed by social media users and graphic artists for asking for a cover photo in exchange for a shoutout. He said in a now-deleted tweet:

“Any graphic designers here? Who’s willing to make me a cover photo/banner for (ex. YouTube, Twitch). I need a banner with the username “LucidExpress.” Best one gets a shout out from me.”

He later on apologized for the request but said in a now-deleted Instagram post that he was just “seeking volunteers” and “wasn’t obligating anyone.”

A survey conducted by a content marketing network titled the “Digital Creative Economy Survey” revealed that artists encounter similar situations where they get disrespected by clients. One of its respondents shared:

“I’ve listened to too many friends talk about pouring their blood, sweat, and tears into projects only to be paid a year later if at all, or for projects to suddenly fold up without them getting a single cent… We have a lot of talented creatives and they deserve better.”

A community of design advocates and practitioners, called The Professional Association for Design, discourages artists from accepting promises of exposure as a form of payment instead of monetary compensation.

They warned that an artwork’s quality is compromised and the artist himself gets exploited in such practices. According to them, it “diminishes the true economic value of the contribution designers (or artists) make toward client’s objectives.”