Small sacrifice for art
I thought slavery ended with the Civil War.
I thought art was above greedy capitalists.
I should have read the fine print on my contract with Madison Avenue before I signed it.
Sure a lot of girls at college tried to study art the way I did, thinking they would live a free and bohemian life instead of taking up nurse or worse – marriage.
I really had talent.
People claim I was born with a pen in my head, and teachers in every grade told me I would “make it” some day.
As I got older, I learner that there was “art” and then there was “Art”.
One kind you could make a living at, the other kind let you starve.
Needless to say, I chose the former.
I even got hired by a well-established commercial art firm before I realized I made the wrong choice.
I never knew art could seem so much like an assembly line.
So I decided to go to my boss, a junior partner from the firm, to see if I could do something a little more creative.
I even though some of my personal work to show him what I was capable of.
He liked what he saw – in my work and in me.
He said he would see what he could do.
The next day I found flowers on my desk and a note that said I should meet him for lunch in a posh downtown restaurant.
There he told me he had reviewed my contract and that the company had rights to all of my work, produced on the job or off it, and that he intended to market my personal material under the company name.
I was so stunned at first, I couldn’t speak.
He went on and suggested that if I performed certain extra duties, he might find a way to give me credit, making me into a big time artist overnight.
When I asked him what might happen if I refused.
He smiled and said I could forget about art.
Confused, I told him I needed time to think things over.
Instead, I go to an attorney, who reviews my contract and shrugs.
I might win a settlement, but not the rights to my work, he says.
But legal fees would eat up whatever I got.
So I go out and get drunk, crying over my drinks to a close girlfriend I knew from school.
She, as drunk as I am, suggests I might have the junior partner killed.
I shake my head and say I would have to kill the whole corporation.
Hung over the next morning, I find more flowers on my desk and a note for me to meet the man in his office this time.
I agree to his terms.
I guess that’s the way life is.
Sometimes, you have to make small sacrifices to pursue your art.