The Distant Future.

May 30, 2008

I am officially the world’s worst blogger, I think. But this morning as I was running errands an idea popped into my head to write about– so here we go.

Head to a store and you’ll find prices jumping for food and supplies. The gas pumps are charging more all the time, flip on the news and you’ll invariably hear about airline expenses, businesses merging and cutting staff, the job search becomes harder and harder, and then there’s rationing… Whether we’re in a recession or not, things are changing and it’s not really for the better, at least not right now. It’s kind of depressing, but it started to make me wonder– how is it affecting illustrators?

Do you think our future is still bright? As the cost of necessities rises, will we still have much of a market? Will magazines discontinue (or switch to photography or stock) because they’re more like extravagances than food or shelter? I wonder. I would like to hope not– publications are my bread and butter! But I’m curious of your thoughts.

Also, how are things affecting you currently? I find that I’m spending a lot more at the post office mailing out artwork than I used to. Cost of plane tickets and fuel make me reluctant to travel (though I didn’t drive– used to bike til someone stole mine recently!), which means I have to cut out any public things like comic conventions or craft fairs. And then there’s the worry about the art I make to sell (as opposed to illustrations)– will people stop buying because they need to worry about more important things? I worry that somewhere along the line creative people will be out of work. I doubt a doctor will ever have that problem– but an artist unfortunately doesn’t have that same clout in society.

I may just be a worrywart right now, but I do wonder– how good will we have it in the next several years? And if there is a lingering concern, should we be considering a plan B? I honestly don’t know what I’d do besides what I do now! So tell me what you see and predict– the good and bad, because I want to know!

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12 Responses to “The Distant Future.”

  1. DH. said

    It’s funny, Meg. I have thought about this a bit as well, mostly pertaining to how I am personally handling my own finances and such, and lately I’ve actually been buying MORE art and prints and comic books. I’m not sure why I’ve been doing that, other than the stuff I see people making is so amazingly awesome that I just have to have it. Perhaps it is partly because savvy people have been making affordable prints and selling their awesome work for not a lot of money, and it doesn’t seem extravagant to obtain something beautiful for $20 or $30.

    On the other side of the pens and brushes, I am still feeling pretty new to all of this freelancing, so I can’t tell if things have slowed down or not. It is still been a struggle for me to find projects and contracts, but I don’t know if that is because I’m not looking for work in the right places, or if my portfolio is poorly organized or doesn’t highlight my strengths very well, or if it is from the general state of the economy. I have no idea.

    As far as predictions for the future, I tend to shy away from sweeping statements and generalizations, but I think the U.S. is due for a wakeup call. I’m not sure how quickly a new administration in the White House might be able to change the way the world sees us here, or how much of an effect on the economy they might be able to have, but in theory things should start to improve little by little for the next few years, and I am personally optimistic. Especially over the longer view, I think art and illustration will undoubtedly have its ups and downs, but it’s been around for centuries, and I expect it to last for while longer.

    In general, I think illustrators always have some kind of back-pocket plan B strategy, but in the short term, I expect more of us will rely on it for our day-to-day expenses. And over the next few years we will see less and less need to do so.

    Damn, I talk too much. Anyway, that my shoot-from-the-hip thoughts on that subject.

  2. Alveena said

    ok my friendly artists, we are all suffering, me from a paucity of ideas, inspiration, don’t feel like filing claims at work so can possibly not pay for art but art is always a heart thing so rest assured people will continue buying especially when life sucks.

  3. boyo said

    Art is the BEST IMPULSE BUY EVER!

  4. diana said

    I don’t think people will stop buying art. On the contrary, I think there will more need for art if the recession gets worse. People will need something to escape to. Movies are usually the first thing everyone turns to when things are rough. And the entertainment industry constantly needs artists. If worse comes to worse, we will just have to figure out different markets and venues to sell to, but otherwise, most likely we will still have jobs.

  5. I’m not an illustrator…I write some…do storytelling, a little entertaining…but I do find your thoughts interesting. I thought about back in the days of the Depression…the times of the Dirty 30’s and such, decades after the Civil War when money was in short supply…when you look at history…some great artists came from those times of short money…Norman Rockwell, many great Western artists, Remington, Charles Russell. Hopefully this trend will continue. Thanks for sharing, The Disorganized Organizer

  6. Sketchee said

    At my job, in some ways there’s been a push to design things better, make things look more expensive, make them look cool and modern … Drive up readership through design. Of course, it means there’s more work for people who are paid the same amount of money. That’s the early reaction I don’t know that it’ll last that way.

    I hadn’t read much here in a while, but the beauty of rss let’s me get things when you update! So don’t worry too much about it

  7. I have been worried about the magazine industry for awhile now, even before I started my free-lance business. Maybe the illustrators who are only in it for money will leave to pursue more secured paychecks so as some free-lance jobs dry up there will be less competition. I am hoping that web-designers will start using illustrators. The future will tell.

    As far as buying art goes I think the internet is beginning to help out. With sites like Etsy and giclee printing artists are able to sell their work easier than having to go through galleries. Since artist can sell work directly to the public they can sell their work cheaper (or make more profit) because they don’t have to figure the commission into their price.

    In general I think the economy is tanking in this country, and I think a lot of people will hope it will get better after November.

  8. Money is a necessity in the lives of every human being, because it represents human value. It represents the labor and resources associated with it. If the powers that be wish to kill the currency as we know it and announce sock will be the new currency, we would use socks as a symbol of trade. How does the making of money affect an artist creative energy to make art? There is a lot of criticism of artists who show more passion about the idea of invention, and experimentation of art making. When does making money becomes more important than the making of art?

  9. Our parents taught us that there was never enough money to go around, and that it was not readily available or abundant. But in truth, the universe is very abundant, and there is lots of money to go around for everyone. Just think what you could do if you have so much money how much your heart desires. What wonderful things you could do with it: travel to the countries you have always dreamt of, buy a house you even scared to think about it, attend meditation classes so you could spiritually grow, donate money to your favourite charity, spend more quality time with your family and the list goes on.

  10. Money plays a vital role in every one’s life. Without money you are nothing. This world is for the rich. Money can get you many comforts of life. It can give you status in society. Money can solve most of the problems in life. Yet there are still a few things that money can’t buy. Money can buy a comfortable bed, not sleep. It can get you delicious food but not appetite. Every living being strives to be happy always. So, if you really want to lead a happy life, you need to balance your time between making money and spending time with your dear ones.

  11. Directory said

    Money is hub in the wheel of life in the society. Money plays a key role in every occasion you approach. The clothing you wear the vehicle you use and your entire attire will be calculated with money by others. Later the position and honor you received will be decided in the society. The recognition on the base of affection and service were fade away. Good, Love, sacrifice and courtesy etc. the positive qualities remained in the society only for preaching like Mahatma Gandhi’s sayings. More over the comments would have to listen as the inefficient spoke all these which were useless and nothing bring home in the form of rupee. I do hope share this thread with your response.

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