Wednesday, April 14, 2010

ART post cards for ARTchix studios swap/contest--Discussion and Pics

For anyone familiar with ARTchix studios, you know Helga (owner) runs swaps/contests for the best images to be added to her collage sheet collection. The main winner wins a shopping spree, the rest of us, get copies of the sheets she's made.  I have only entered a few of these swaps/ contests.  I would enter more if they were JUST SWAPS.  There are many superbly talented artists in the group.  But I do not think favorably, of the contests. Everyone is entitled to their opinion.  The voting I will not discuss, as it might start some rumors or worse arguments. but I will discuss, the art the players make and what happens with it.

The first time, I entered such a contest was a few years back when Helga was looking for mermaids to make a "faux poste" sheet.  My husband pointed out, the "unjust-ness" of it...but I pointed out how having my name appear, is publicity as it were, and the hopes of getting more and more recognition kept me entering.

Here is what happens, if something you make is chosen to become part of her collections to sell and make a profit off from now til whenever. You get 3 copies of the sheet she as created with your art and all the other art she chose from the dozens of applicants. Additionally you get a blurb about you on her website for this sheet. I am not sure how long these blurbs stay up there.  That is it, she now owns the rights to that piece of art, and she gave you the rough equivalent of $15.  Each time she sells she sheets, she makes the rough equivalent of $5.  Again, if you are familiar with ARTchix studios, you KNOW she is selling hundreds of these sheets.  EVERONE who plays gets 1 sheet. (which is nice).  But what about those Artists whose work is chosen? Is $15 a fair price, to sign over their rights to their own piece of work?  I'd really like to hear other people's opinions on this.  My husband has been saying no, ever since the first one I joined...mermaids faux poste.  My children starting chiming in a little later, especially my son--agreeing with their dad. Recently I have had the opportunity to discuss this at length with someone who has actually graduated from art school, they also think there is something not quite right with this.

IN Helga's and ARTchix's DEFENSE, I will say, that the most recent swap/contest sheets she has produced have the artists names ON THE SHEETS, which to me, makes a BIG difference.  So adding this new factor into the mix, I'd really like to hear from all you fellow artists out there, on your opinion, of signing over the rights to a piece of your art for you name being on the sheets (so people purchasing them, know where they came from) and the equivalent of $15.

I want to also point out that there are rules to these swap/ must use ARTchix items...and in the beginning it was "one of the following", and you'd have a few choices to choose from.  However the last few there have been at least 3 items that you MUST use, so inevitably you must purchase from ARTchix to even ENTER the swap/contest with no guarantee-- obviously that your work will be chosen.  So she is making a profit from the artists even before their work has been signed over to her, and then of course if your work is one of the "lucky ones" to be chosen- you sign over your rights, and she continues to make a profit.

I wasn't going to do anymore of these swaps/contests...but the last one which was Gothic arches I really enjoyed, and I'd LOVE to do it just a SWAP.

This post card swap, we had to purchase 3 of the ARTchix collage sheets to be used on the post cards. I wasn't going to do, as I really wasn't in the mood to spend more money for a swap at that moment.  But I had never made post cards, and when I looked  at the one sheet needed for the swap (make art, create happiness), I liked it...I already owned 1of the three sheets, so I decided to go for it.  I am pleased with my results, and I made 2 for me.  I also made sure I signed my work on the front...very tiny, but it is there, and I signed the back.  I did not put any other info on them, because I have a "Post card" stamp, and I used that, and a blank "stamp" stamp and put that on there, and I drew a line straight down under the words "post card" so that they look identical to real postcards.  I might put a post-it note on the back of each with all the other info.  I bet, because my signature is on the fronts of these, none of mine will be picked.  Just a prediction.  I also made 2 sets, this is the first time I have ever joined any of the swap/contests making more than 1 set.

so....Please give your opinions on how you feel about the rights to one's art, as listed above.  and I also wouldn't mind opinions of my art post cards.  :)  LOL

Set one:

Set two:

With all being said and done...I do want to say that I LOVE ARTchix studios and Helga is awesome, I am merely looking at the 'rights to the artist's work' angle here.  They are closing the Yahoo group down, which is most, most sad!  They are moving everything to Facebook, I am a member of FB, and like FB, but I PERSONALLY know at least 5 people, who have gotten hacked and or viruses and worms from items on FB or thru FB. Due to this, I do not do much on FB...I play (and actually I haven't played it in months) --Bloodlines, and I play Zoo World(again haven't played in a while). Otherwise I chat occasionally with art friends, old classmates, some family members, and friends of my kids.  I limit what photos I put up.  I am very leery of putting up art photos. Therefore the closing of the Yahoo group is making many of us,  Thinking very carefully if we are continuing our membership and participation, again...very sad.  One of the members created a flickr group, so we could do the bi-weekly ATC lotteries, which I have joined.

QUICK ADDITION:   YES, she notifies us of how it works, and we have to sign a release.

Ok, waiting to hear from all my art friends. :)


Tristan Robin Blakeman said...

I understand your point of view. But, I don't really think that these contest are a "business" exercise as much as a community-and-fan-base event.

I have done many (way too many LOL) swaps at ArtChix, and have always really really enjoyed participating. In fact, I may be wrong, but I think it was actually my first experience with ATC swapping!

However, I've never entered the contests. I just never felt the reward was worth buying all those collage sheets LOL. I like swaps better, LOL, because I receive as well as give!

I don't think it's a matter of fair or not fair - it's just the way she does it. If you feel you're being taken advantage of by entering, just don't enter. There's no point in getting riled about it. I know several people who have been chosen, and they are thrilled, so for them it's a terrific thing.

You know what they say about the reasons they make chocolate AND vanilla! LOL Everybody feels differently about things.

By the way - your postcards are lovely!

Kim said...

I agree w/you on this particular game bring more $$ profit to ArtChix than to you, but that being said she's very up-front on requirements. If an artist is uncomfortable with it she shouldn't enter - I didn't, for exactly that reason :)
Some girls truly enjoy it and more power to them, but it sounds as if you might be moving on. Your pc's are so pretty, perhaps you should make your own sheets and see how well they sell for you :)

Denise said...

Hi Susan, I would first like to say that I love your postcards!! I think it's a personal preference when it comes to weather or not it's worth it to you to join the contest and be basically given $15 for it. As long as she is all up front about it I would have to say it's not really "wrong" since folks know ahead of time that they are giving over their rights to their art and that they are ok with what they are getting in return.

Holly said...

Wow - your postcards are awesome and very expressive! It would be fun to swap ATC's or postcards with you sometime.
I think that if a company was going to take the rights to someone's artwork it would still be appropriate to give that artist credit for their work. Without proper credit I probably would not enter their 'contests' again.
It almost seems like these 'contests' are being used instead of having a creative team in place who would design art using the company's logos. But if you agree to the terms than it is a good place to stretch your creative side and see what happens....

hregn3 said...

Hey girl your work is absolutely wonderful.

I think I think like the others in that since she is upfront with the reward for winning it's not a fair "reward" but for some it's simply having their work chosen that's the reward. What I do is search challenge blogs and use their challenges to inspire me to make cards of all sizes. I think if you are looking to sell your work that you should look into selling it like she does in which you are making money from your work. Hope that helps.

Susan said...

this is a comment from a friend, who replied on FB instead of here:

Jenn Erwin
Jenn ErwinApril 15, 2010 at 2:37am
Re: important favor
Hey Susan,

If getting your name is enough on the collage sheet and recognition on the website is..then still play. However, I wouldn't sell my work under someone else's name.
You could easily make your own collage sheets to sell and "cut out the middle man".
And far as the profit she's making, I think she should be giving winners a little more..when I sell my work in galleries, I don't let owners take more than 50% commission.

As far as the buying certain materials that you have to use, this just shows she might not have her own ideas about what to do with her own products.

Just my two cents.

Your postcards are really fun!

Susan said...

another friend replied to FB instead of here:
Hey Susan,
First of all let me say that your post is very well written and I think is was a great idea for you to write it and express your opinion on the situation to let others know how she does things. It sounds to me like she's getting a free ride art wise getting to use art people submit to her swaps - she's going to make money off it as long as there is a demand for it.

Second, honey you are a very good artist yourself, I love your postcards you put on this post and your atc's and your handmade cards are always beautiful. You should be the one making money off them, not someone else. It takes a lot of work to create these pieces and if she puts your name on the pages, it's good to get credit for creating the art on those pages but if she's selling them you should be getting a percent of her sales. That just doesn't seem right - and since she insists you buy and use materials from her site to create these pieces, it seems to me that she needs you and the others who participate in the swaps to get ideas from as to what to create from the materials she sells, like she has no imagination or ability to do this herself. If you're getting enough enjoyment out of the swaps she hosts that you think it's worth what she's technically charging you (using your art forever), then it's an ok thing but I get the feeling it's bothering you a bit, it would me too. You work too hard on your pieces. She's taking advantage of a good thing and making money off it. Have you ever thought about maybe setting up your own etsy shop to sell your work? I believe you would do good with it. You could easily make up your own collage sheets to sell along with your art pieces. You're like me - you can't afford for someone else to be benefiting from your hard work, Ron's right, it just ain't kosher.

Susan said...

LOL here's a 3rd friend, replying on FB instead of here:
Hi Susan,

I don't like the idea of requiring people to buy her items to enter her contests. I would bypass it for that very reason there.

I am curious, does she make it clear that when you enter that you are basically relinquishing your rights to her regardless if you win or not? Does she expressly state that she becomes sole owner of that art? I'm not sure she can legally sell them and profit unless she expressly states that it is a condition upon entering.

It is questionable to me whether or not she can legally continue to sell the art at a profit when the original artists aren't getting some sort of royalties off it. It would be like Michael Jackson submitting "Thriller" to Sony Records (or whomever) and getting paid $500 while Sony turns around and sells it for zillions with no kickback to Michael as the original artist...make sense?

peggy gatto said...

A very interesting post and more interesting responses. I did the swaps and contests because I wanted to play. I did so for 4 plus years and now am finished with contests per say just cause that is me. I had fun and now I am concentrating on other aspects of my art time. I loved the opportunities artchix supplied me and oh my, they were so helpful with my questions re posting, sizing, etc. as I was new to the group thing. I am just moving into another area of creating. The friendships I have from the group will always remain as a special part of my art world.
I am a face book member but do not use it a lot. It seems way too overwhelming for my pea brain. But, I am there for now.
My blog is my main venue and find it so easy to explore areas that interest me.
That is where I am right now and who knows what tomorrow my bring.
thanks for making me think about it!!!

Dawn said...

Hi Susan, my very first art swaps were at Artchix, I enjoy the swaps and the lotteries. I entered the competition once and at the time of entering I didn't give much thought to the fact that I was signing away my rights to my images... I just entered for the fun of it.
The points you make are valid ones but to be fair to Helga she does spell out upfront what her aims are so those who enter know what they are doing.
A lot of sites have it where you have to use there products to create to be a part of swaps etc. this is a way for them to generate business in these hard times I suppose.
So there you have it my opinion, Thanks for asking.

I have to say that your postcards are amazing, you are a very talented lady and hey I agree you should try and sell your work - you created it, go benefit from it cos it is fabulous!

Kimberly's Mixed Media Art said...

I understand your opinion. But, when it comes to submitting artwork for any contest, its a personal choice. It is totally up to you if you want to participate.
If you are uncomfortable with them using your work in a collage sheet then it may be good if you not participate. No artist ever gives up their total rights to their work. (a lawyer told me this years ago) It is still your creation. For me I love having my work on the collage sheets. Its an honor and a great badge to add to my portfolio. I have been on several of her sheets and love all the artwork. In her defense, she is opening her business and taking a chance that folks will like the collection of works enough to buy them. She at least rewards all participants. How many pieces of artwork are chosen for the big craft publications? How many do they send back? How many magazines do they sell? They only send you one copy if that and only if you are published. So while I can't agree with your ArtChix concerns. I do understand where you are coming from. Publication in the art/craft world is a tricky business. We must remember its up to the individual if they want to jump in. Love the postcards.

Susan said...

another comment thru my FB messages:

Joni Owens
Joni OwensApril 15, 2010 at 10:35am
Re: important favor
I'm with Angela on that note - I look at her site regularly and read over the swap info but I'm not buying someone's products just to be in the swap - she's getting free advertising - if you are limited to using her products only on your atc's or whatever and she then uses them on sheets to sell anyone who buys from her and creates is doing the hard work for her: showing a prospective buyer examples of how to use the products.

Susan said...

and another:

I have friends who do ArtChix stuff all the time, but I hate to be limited to using only images from ArtChix..I like to do my own thing.

Susan said...

and yet another:

Frankly, I don't know why anybody would join the Art Chix Yahoo group if they didn't want to use Art Chix products. It's stated clearly on the homepage that it's purpose is to use and make art utilizing Art Chix products. There are a bazillion mixed media/ATC swap groups out there - just join one that isn't own/operated/run by a business.

Susan said...

and so on:

My limited budget has always held me back from ordering from her to do the swaps but mainly I don't like to be limited either.

Susan said...

so on:
I am in the UK, so shipping is always a consideration for me as well. I always thought that group was fine for other folks, but not for me. Even when I was in the States, it always put me off, having to use her images.

Susan said...

i think olga's business model is BRILLIANT and if you choose to play its fun... i used to do it years ago and loved everything about the experience i just ran out of "free time" to play with GIANT swaps so i don't do it any more. the contests give you bragging rights which i always adore, but if its not enough then its no biggie... just don't do it.

make art = be happy

Eileen said...

I, too, think it's all a matter of personal choice. It's good marketing on her part, I'll say that, and it seems to be above board. If you enjoy the participation and you feel the reward of having your work published in this way is worth it - go for it. If not, there are plenty of places where you can swap with other artists.

Nice post cards!


Susan said...

Yet another comment sent to FB instead of here:

your work is absolutely wonderful but i guess its all a matter of perspective you should do whatever U want becoz thats what its all about...............

Juliet A said...

It's happening all over. Lisa Vollrath has a swap in which you have to buy her collage sheet to play, then when you send in your cards, she photographs them and publishes them in a book. What do the artists get? Their swaps.

Try being on a design team, any design team, and how much work you have to do for virtually no reward. The world is full of people who just want a pat on the back.