As an artist today, the world of getting paid for your work is a minefield, a reality Grace Miceli rails against in the comments of an illustration she recently posted to Instagram. Below a marker drawing of a cactus with big googly eyes and a shooting star, the artist and curator relays the story of 19-year-old zinester Katie Yewell who paid for Miceli's illustration—drawing a stark contrast to the adult men and women at "brands/agencies" who ask for labor in return for what they call "exposure."
"Dear brands/agencies/people who are not my friends, stop asking me to work for free! I'm pretty sure you get paid to sit at your desk all day emailing artists asking for free labor so why shouldn't I get paid to spend hours making illustrations for you? This is my job and exposure doesn't pay my rent so please get your shit together @getartistspaid #getartistspaid also s/o @anoisykid who is a TEENAGER and hired me to draw these for her," Miceli writes.
Requests to make commissioned art "for the exposure" are so common they've become a meme. If you work up the courage to refuse, big corporations might just steal your work and say you're too insignificant to file suit. Miceli's post shouts out @getartistspaid, artist Lauren Bailey's Instagram effort to mobilize memes against this tacky behavior. Catchy phrases like "Exposure without compensation is exploitation!" and a curated selection of real-life requests, sans pay, comprise a house of everyday creative industry horrors.
See more of Miceli's candy-colored doodles, which you can pay for here, in the 'grams below.
Follow Grace Miceli, a.k.a., @artbabygirl, here, and click here to check out @getartistspaid, an ongoing effort. Follow The Creators Project on Instagram to find (and find out how to support) your next favorite artist.