We are usually so prompt about paying for groceries, bills and rent and all the other “important” things in life. We know that if those bills aren’t going to be paid on time, it’ll probably have consequences; you wont have electricity, major corporations will take legal action – which you’ll be liable to pay for, your credit history might be affected.
These large companies have the money to file lawsuits, hire debt collections agency and may even specifically hire someone to chase up unpaid invoices; most artists don’t have the time or cashflow. Yet we feel it is okay to delay payments to these artists. We undermine the people who are already struggling to make a living of a profession that many people see as a luxury and not a need. Those clothes you’re wearing right now: designed by an artist. It is a need.
I recently took up what may be one of the most stressful commissions of my art career. It all starts with a nice email with a “please” and “thank you for your time”. It becomes prominent, however, that some clients may have zero regard for your time. I was given a brief and I quoted a price. Part of the money was transferred over to my account and I started painting. Suddenly I get an email to at least 8 more subjects to the painting – in the same time-frame. Safe to say that the quality of the artwork was compromised because it was rushed.
As an artist, my biggest source of new clients is word of mouth. Which is why it is imperative for me to leave no client unhappy. I was happy to spend some more time on it – but a dated invoice is a dated invoice. You need to pay it on time. The painting has been fixed up and sent back.
Three months later: still no payment. At this point, sending a letter of demand or involving legal authorities seemed like the only option. I sent an email reserving the right to claim legal fee if I did not receive the money ASAP. I get an email back saying I’m being “unprofessional” sending threats.
If you’re one of these people, don’t be. If you’re struggling financially, take your artist into confidence and we can set up a payment plan.
If this person sounds like you, do not email me for a commission.
Pay your artist on time.