The Exposure Note

Let me start off by saying this: I have been paid to write. And it felt great. I actually cried the first time a cheque cleared that I had earned by writing. It was a great feeling; being one step closer to fully supporting myself by doing what I love. It wasn’t long (literally about 22 hours) after that moment that I was asked to work for free – or as they put it, exposure. This wasn’t new to me at all, but there was a tiny (read: massive) part of me that hoped the ball would just continue rolling once I’d started being paid, and it wouldn’t be long before I was making a sensible amount of money.

Still, if all the exposure I’ve been paid in actually converted to pounds, I’d be able to move out of where I currently live, stop being such a burden on my parents, and buy my dream home further in the North and live the wistful, care-free life I’ve always wanted. Yet alas, exposure does not convert into literally any currency, and here I am, mostly penniless. And when I am paid, it isn’t a decent rate. Like, at all. I barely make minimum wage most of the time. Actually, all of the time.

I know it’s boring to hear artists talk about how little they get paid, especially when massive blockbuster movies make billions of dollars and there are actors who could end poverty with their salaries alone. But there are far too many artists (like myself) who cannot afford rent, and one ends up in this strange position where one can’t afford not to work for free, because funnily enough, proper exposure is useful, and if you don’t get exposure, no one will ever hear about your work and then no one will ever support it, especially if you work in the visual arts. But it must be noted that I wouldn’t need to get exposure if I got paid, because if I was getting paid, the problem would be solved. You only start accepting exposure as payment when it becomes the only way to get your work ‘out there’.

So without further ado, I have created the exposure note which can be issued as an actual honest representation of what you’re paying artist if you are the sort of person/brand/company/dream crushing factory who pays by exposure and not by actual money. And because I don’t have much money in the first place, there’s nothing I can do other than satirise this problem with art. If I had Banksy’s level of exposure (ha ha) I’d shred something valuable, too, and make a poignant remark on the value of art and labour whilst taking the mick out of super rich people, but I don’t have that. I have some paper and pens, supplies of which that are quickly running dry. And a very squishy cat.

Anyway, here it is…


5 thoughts on “The Exposure Note

  1. Reblogged this on Magick Thoughts SL ❤ Le meilleur de Second Life and commented:
    So, how do you feel about the practices of “Exposure As Payment?” Many creative people including myself have experienced this in different ways. Whether it’s in regards to the virtual world or the real world. I have always thought of myself as being really great at creating my own exposure for my blogs and photoshop work in Second Life and of course my blogging for real life.

    But I find this exposure as payment to be a bit shall we say… frugal on the part of the client. Whatever I am working on is a work of love or sheer passion. They know this or they are fishing for free work done. I have had to practice at times using the word ‘no.’

    I have to learn to use my time wisely and only leaving my ‘yes’ answer to dear friends and close business partners 🙂 especially in the virtual world area. Second Life is a passtime and if I don’t feel up to it I just say no. All the exposure in the world a stranger won’t be able to give me usually and I can do better myself. Anyone that knows me realises I can be annoying on Facebook and most social media with my sharing. LOL.

    This blog post by Rochelle really hit home with me and I would like to share it with you!

    love AmandaMagick


  2. YES! Love your Exposure note — and I remember the first cheque I received for an article I’d written. I wanted to frame it and never cash it. ha! I desperately needed the money so such extravagant memorializing was not in the cards. On another note, this weekend I received notification I got accepted into a juried art show — the first one I haven’t had to pay to enter. That’s another one that goes into the memory box as ‘momentous’. Having given up years ago trying to make a living as a working writer — I was a single mother of two daughters — I hear your frustration and am cheering you on from the other side of building my career and now, into ‘the next phase’ where it is no longer about the money because I have the luxury of making art for the pure exhilarating joy of it all. Keep writing. Life does have a way of turning up for us – especially when you have such a fabulous sense of humor and a gift like yours!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! That’s so great to hear. I’m happy it’s all worked out for you and you can keep making art. Thanks for sharing your inspiring words with me, I’ll keep writing for sure!


  3. I have been asked to donate my time taking pictures. Even though I have had work accepted at a gallery and a juried show it is hard to get paid gigs. For charities I don’t mind donating time. I am frugal about giving exposure to something travel wise unless the person does a great job- a tour guide and I know I can help them by the exposure. I would rather highlight the places. Companies asking for unpaid work for exposure though I think bothers a lot of people.

    Liked by 1 person

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