Musicians, writers, and actors are all paid residuals or royalties when their work is resold in another format or another venue. Visual artists are not. The starving artist mime continues to be true of visual artists. Not to say all musicians, writers and actors are receiving residuals but they all have the potential to work toward that goal. Visual artists do not. A writer can hope for publication in hardback, paperback, and possibly in film, as well as residuals with each book sale. Musicians can look forward to multiple sales of recordings. Actors can look forward to syndication, reruns and more. Visual artists can hope for a one -time sale and maybe increasing value of the one-time sales. Some may profit from licensing of their work. That’s basically it for visual artists though a living can be made from these avenues. But compared to other art forms it is minimal. That is why so many famous visual artists have died destitute while their art is worth millions.
A push has been on for sometime in Europe to see visual artists paid more in line with artists of other art forms. The galleries and dealers have pushed back hard. Some have feared art sales will be moved to countries without these laws. My question for these fear mongers is, “Did this happen with the other art forms?” Have actors, writers and musicians moved to countries with out artistic property rights? The answer is no. Fear mongering is just fear mongering.
These laws are called “droit de suite” laws. So far some basic forms of this law have passed in some European countries. Great Britain has enacted a “droit de suite” law very recently. One has been brought up in the United States Senate once and was dropped in committee. A new “droit de suite” bill is in the works. The Art Newspaper has the full report. I urge you to follow the link and learn about what could be a vital lifeline for visual artists! And after you have armed yourself with the meaning of “droit de suite” and what it can mean to you, CALL AND WRITE YOUR SENATOR! And while you’re at it, CALL AND WRITE YOUR REPRESENTATIVE TOO!
Its time to get paid for your vision!
“An artist is not paid for his labor but for his vision”. James McNeill Whistler (from brainyquote.com)
For more on Droit de Suite here are some links:
Here are links to what actors and musicians get paid: