I’m one of those bad artists who wants more money for my work and yet I download music off the internet. Bad me, I am a contradiction. At least I admit it.

Artists making work for free, or rather, finding themselves in the position of being robbed out of a fair wage, is a sad state of affairs, and is especially prevalent in the film and video festivals. Yeah yeah, festivals are fun to go to, but rarely does a festival pay the recommended CARFAC rates. In fact, many of the bigger festivals go so far as to charge outrageous entry fees for the “processing” costs, when they won’t pay fees AFTER you’ve been chosen. Cash strapped filmmakers reaching into their own pockets to basically subsidize a film festival is an appalling way to treat artists. In my thinking, if you can’t afford to even LOOK at the work being submitted to your festival, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it.

Yep, I am very much about being paid a decent wage. Which is why this upcoming show I am in is the most surprisingly potentially stupid and damaging move I have ever made in my career.

Sometime a few months ago I was majorly depressed and time was trickling by very slowly, I had my screenplay I was working on and not much else going on. Someone said “Hey, why don’t you put something in our window display,” I said sure, and then from there it sort of mushroomed into a show at a little gallery.

Months go by. I’ve got a great short video idea which keeps getting stonewalled by well meaning friends wanting me to work on it in a far more formal style than I wanted, and I was being passive. The end result is basically, this video I wanted to have done for this show to screen as a solo piece is no more. Finito. Dead, at least until I can find someone who will let me borrow a working mini DV camera with a firewire.

And yet I still have a show coming up.

A show for which I will be paid absolutely nothing in artist fees, which is why I was remembering the problem with some film festivals and artist fees in general.

So here’s the thing, it’s now a discount art show of crappy Thirza Cuthand drawings which will probably not have any kind of cohesion, I don’t even know if I will be able to afford thumbtacks to put them up. I may in fact just do a show of a hospital gown and the two smiley face slippers you get when they send you to the psych ward. Since there’s no money involved and I don’t have the resources to work in the medium I love, which is time based, this show is basically going to suck, and I know that. Okay, maybe I don’t know that. It just seems sad that there isn’t more funding for the arts out there so that it would be unthinkable to not pay artists what they’re worth. We undervalue culture so much as a North American society in general.

It’s called Disclaimer, and you can see it at the Alley Gallery on Pender the first weekend in May. Unless something dramatically wonderful happens in the next couple of weeks, it will probably be a very mediocre showing and you’ll be horribly disappointed in me and not want me to do a show again, when I can do a very excellent show given the proper funding and artist payment.


p.s. There is a reason this site is called Fit of Pique. For all I know it will all work out and look good.

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