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Re: [BKARTS] Book Artists Unite?



I have not followed the thread, but I have several observations:

First, as an artist I never make my material expenses back, let alone get paid for time and labor. It is a huge insult to label this as "hobby." This is art and has absolutely nothing to do with profit. As such, a union would squeeze artists out of the market and leave only profitable craftsmen.

Second, unions called by any name (a canon of poets, photographers, artists, book artists, a union of galleries such as AIPAD, an organization such as Calif Poets In The Schools, the stanglehold of academia, Grants & Prize organizations, Critics and Media who organize to determine who is "in" and who is "out") always, always operate by excluding those who do not make a profit or do not belong to some pre-defined group. Unions are the ultimate form of nepotism. The Pro argument is always fair recompense in the face of predatory wealth. The Dark side is always the exclusion of those who are not "in."

Third, once initiated, unions take over the world and exclude all others, artists and profitable craftsmen alike.

And Last, if a union is instigated, you had better be in it, otherwise you will be unable to market you work either as art or for profit. You will, by force, become a maker of artistic commodities, but you just might survive. Unions preclude all other choices. Otherwise, you are "out."

The only tenable action seems to be to fight it tooth and nail, and when you lose and the Union is created, be the first in line to join.

An ethical conumdrum for sure, but it boils down to being allowed to make and market your work, or any work at all.

michael



----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Michael Atha" <restorationbks@xxxxxxxxx>
To: <BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Thursday, March 05, 2009 9:14 AM
Subject: Re: Book Artists Unite?


> John: If I spend my time and materials in excess of what I am being paid is
> that
> fair?  A Union of Book Artists would protect us against such usury.
> 
> Myself:  If you're spending time and materials in excess of what you're
> being paid, then there is something, indeed, wrong with that picture.  Is it
> fair?...absolutely yes.  Everyday, artists everywhere are working for the
> love of their art.  If their art fails to materialize into a form of income
> substantial enough to support their art as their livelihood, then their art
> is relegated to a hobby.  If one, no matter how hard they try, cannot turn a
> dollar from their art, they are to be faced with the grim reality that their
> art will not be their livelihood.  This is the way supply and demand works.
> On the other hand, those who generally "make it" in the art world, do so at
> great expense and over a great period of time and personal sacrifice.
> Granted their are a few exceptions I'm sure.
> 
> I would NEVER want my livelihood as a book artist/conservator/binder to be
> unionized.  Never.  I'm grateful every day that I'm able to make a good
> living at what I love.  Our business has only grown over the past year
> despite the economic downturn.  We have diversified and branched out into
> new markets.  It has worked for us and we're still here.  That's not to say
> that any one thing, if different, could have resulted in me digging ditches
> for a living again.  If one cannot make a living within their profession,
> they're in the wrong profession.  If one cannot cover their materials and
> their time enough to make it profitable, their business will not survive.
> That's just business.
> 
> I've always told my family that I will do whatever I have to do to put food
> on the table.  If that means digging ditches or cleaning out port-o-johns
> for a living instead of binding and conserving books, so be it.  I'm
> grateful that that's not the case.  I believe that Peter's response summed
> up my feelings perfectly...
> 
> Michael Atha
> Restoration Books
> Bindery & Fine Press
> 
>                                    
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