It’s only taken YEARS of convincing (really thought I was more persuasive than that 😉 ) when it came to my brother Jed finally launching his commissions site. He has been a top artist on DeviantArt for quite some time, and has been a full time online-comic artist since he graduated at top of his class at the Art Institute in San Diego. He works close to 60 hours a week some times on his comics, taking 6-9 hours per page he posts up for his fans to view.
The frustration with art at times, is perception and appreciation. You wanna know why some of the best artists die broke? Because they love what they do, and their talent is 100% the ART, and not the business of art. Once they die, someone with business-sense comes along and says “wow… there was some real talent there. This is worth something. And the artist is dead… this is now worth so much more!” It’s sad but it’s true! The only artists that “make it” while living, are the ones who value their work and can hold their head up and say, “this is my passion, my art, and I won’t be taken advantage of.” This is true with any type of art… whether it’s a painting, a photo, an animation… it all applies. Any artist can tell you that the hardest part is getting past that hurdle of putting a price on what your work is worth, and finding people/clients who agree with you and value it just the same. We all perceive and value art differently. No one has the recipe for pricing just right. Usually you can tell if an artist is charging an outrageous amount if you take in to consideration the hours spent and work involved. Not anyone can take a blank canvas and put something beautiful on to it. That alone has to be admired, if not valued. Someone who slaps a bucket of paint on to a canvas, takes 15 minutes and then charges $5,000.00 – that might not be something you’re willing to pay for, but if someone out there finds value in that, who’s to say it’s not art?
In the Deviant Art world, I hate to say this… but so many “fans” were taking advantage of my brother. He is the KINDEST person you’ll ever meet. Soft-spoken, keeps to himself, doesn’t judge. The majority of the people who follow on art sites genuinely believe that artists should give away their art for free. They believe it is for their amusement and their enjoyment, and that artists should never be compensated. You can imagine how tough it was for YEARS to watch him brave that type of crowd. When he started his own comic site, he was sent the nastiest messages, and his monthly subscription? A measley* $6 a month! Yup. That crowd. Living in their mother’s basements and trolling the internet even stealing his work and sharing it on multiple sites. For what? For him to barely make a living doing what he loves? They would call him SCROOGE… and he was barely making his rent. REALLY. I think he’s happy I wasn’t there for most of the “customer calls” and “complaints”. Yeah.. people were complaining when the work was practically FREE. Makes you cringe, right? “THOSE people” is all you can think of in your head, as your eyes widen and roll back. The worst. And that was his main audience. -_-
I sat in silence (most of the time) when I would see him become frustrated. After close to a decade of this… this is one of the most talented people I’ve ever met, and he is barely cutting it some times with how hard he works? I’m sure so many artists out there can agree. I would get flashbacks to the days where I was starting in photography and would feel SO OFFENDED when I was constantly low-balled by both random people and even friends! I hated* that feeling. I realized quickly though, that instead of stooping to their prices, I held firm to mine, and guess what? They weeded themselves out. Those who valued my work paid my rate, those who didn’t… well, sorry. Find someone else. It’s as simple as that. If a client’s priority was their wedding DJ… go for it. You obviously don’t value photography, and that’s fine.. but find another photographer. (This isn’t devaluing DJs, it’s stating that anyone who prioritizes their wedding DJ over their photographer is just someone who isn’t as in to photography… which is not my kind of client. Don’t read too much in to it!) My brother didn’t seem to have that luxury. He couldn’t just turn people away or commissions because he had YET to find the clients who valued his work…until people who loved him stepped in. Those who want free art? Go find it, I’m sure it’s out there. This isn’t to say that artists should always charge and never work for free. Goodness knows on my off time I am still photographing.. but it’s MY choice and it’s what I want to work on. Every artist needs to feel this. Each commission can take him anywhere from 6-10 hours – and that’s just for 3 people.
After seeing what he could do with people’s photos, how much better he gets every year with his artwork, we pushed him to finally start AnimeJed. I couldn’t be more proud. He approached this with a huge risk and a lot of faith, and within the first 3 weeks was blown away at the response and orders. He got his first taste at what it feels like to have his work VALUED. I don’t think he will ever be able to go back to the low-ball crowd after this, and all I can say is: GOOD FOR HIM!
Of course with the launch of his new site and business, Jed is so happy to offer a $100 promo for your first animation! You upload any beloved image, old or new, and he creates it in to another timeless piece of art.. matted and framed. I want to thank all the family and friends who have supported him through this, that’s the biggest piece of all of it. Genuine support! <3 (Please mention this post in your inquiry and he will be happy to honor it.) I’m posting some side by sides below for you to see the type of work he’s creating. He told me orders were coming in with the best ideas… school portraits to be used for birthday invites, images on mugs, coasters, puzzles, mouse pads… he is also welcoming any suggestions! We used ours for our Christmas card this year!
Without further ado– here’s just some of his work! <3
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