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Obama’s New Contest Insults Starving Artists

Photo by Alex Wong, Getty Images

I hate politics, and I try to avoid paying attention to them as much as possible. I’m an artist in many forms, and have come to terms that the government (not just Obama) will never provide support to people involved in the arts. Recently, the value of a graphic designers career was belittled by Obama as he is in a search for free artwork for a “contest.”

Let me just put this out there, a successful and respectable designer does not work for free. This free artwork want-ad is for a job promotion, how ironic. The winner of the contest will have their artwork used in Obama’s campaign, and that’s it. Yes, it’s a portfolio piece, but now the government owns your artwork. How much is a designer’s time worth exactly? It’s worth a hell of a lot more than a lousy ‘Congratulations’ email.

Richard Grefe of AIGA wrote a letter to the campaign manager stating, “The recent “Art Works: A Poster Contest to Support American Jobs” demonstrates a lack of respect for the design profession, violates global principles and standards for professional design practice, contradicts the intent of creating jobs for American workers and asks designers to give up intellectual and creative property rights.” AIGA is the American Institute of Graphic Design. The organization is incredibly involved in the graphic arts world, especially this issue that has occurred these past few days.

This is only going to attract uneducated computer hogs that know how to use a free version of Photoshop and suddenly think they’re an avid designer. These are the people that will work for free. Is this what we want representing our goverment’s campaign. Think about where all your money has gone, and think about why the government cannot pull even $150 out of their butts for decent design work.

As a young designer, I’m insulted. I really hope Obama reconsiders this contest. What are your thoughts?

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