Anong Kwentong Third-World Artist Mo? Pinoys Share the Harsh Realities of Pursuing Careers in Art
Oct 3, 2023   •   Edgardo Toledo
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Oct 3, 2023   •   Edgardo Toledo
Being an artist is all fun and games until you decide it’s your life-long career. You suddenly find yourself gazing into the distance, thinking about whether your love for your craft can triumph over the practical demands of life. This was a recent discussion on X (formerly Twitter), and Pinoys gave us a glimpse of what it’s like to be an artist here in the Philippines.
Job title:Graphic Artist
Job Description:Graphic Artist, illustrator, Social Media Manager, Ad Specialist, Photographer, Videographer, Video Editor, Motion Graphics, Web Designer, Ui/Ux Designer, Animator, Art Director, Copywriter, Brand Manager, Choreographer sa Christmas Party https://t.co/kgwp3BHi0W
— Martin (@immartinsy) October 1, 2023
Job hunting in the Philippines would sometimes give you an existential crisis. Aside from job qualifications that could rival our local beauty pageants, job hunters, particularly those in creative fields, are faced with Herculean tasks and responsibilities.
How often have you seen job listings where graphic designers and graphic artists are mixed up (hint: they’re not the same thing)? Or the conundrum of content writers versus copywriters? It’s as though companies are looking for a one-man art team to finish their ever-growing to-do lists.
performing in events is almost always an x-deal
we don’t get paid but our table + food is free (tho one time, we didn’t get a table at all).
so please buy merch from your local idols/performers as well (especially cheki!!) :D https://t.co/ZxzD3NIEZr
— Ashley Cloud @ Cosmania/Rev (@ashleycloud31) October 2, 2023
X deals are agreed free labor in exchange for *insert whatever non-monetary thing*. Newbie creatives willingly jump onto these, all in the name of building their portfolios. We get it — not everyone has the budget to pay creatives for their services. However, if you’re capable of paying artists and still opt for an X deal, how dare you?
before i started doing commissions i was working this shoe designer job where i had to draw designs for shoes and create 3d mock ups for each design. i had to make 8 a week and was paid 50 pesos per design.. i quit after 2 weeks https://t.co/kHkr389ELT
— ayana ‹3 (@aeyochi) September 28, 2023
If you see someone looking exhausted and one blink away from oblivion, that’s probably an overworked artist desperately needing a better career opportunity. Artists are basically poster children of the ‘work ’till you drop’ lifestyle. Yet, even as artists strive to shake up the abusive culture, it poses a challenge when exploitation sits at its core.
I’ve been using ibis paint without a stylus for years and years because I can’t afford tablets and a computer and now that I can im still sticking with what I had because that’s what I got very used to all these years https://t.co/JAa1JwWDS8
— 雲 (@kumo_zd) October 2, 2023
Anybody can be an artist, but only a few get to live the artist’s life. Dreaming of entering art school? It often comes down to financial means. Hoping for your big break? Well, networking often outweighs raw talent. Even if you clear those roadblocks, success remains elusive even if you’re the most hardworking person on Earth.
I was honestly surprised that DRAG ARTISTS that get gigs from ~big clubs and bars~ get only 1.5k php per night.
In my head i was expecting they were being paid 5k (or at least 3.5k) pero grabe gulat ko sa 1.5k. Like how and why?? Literal na libu-libo kinikita nung mga bar https://t.co/5W3mWqIU1d
— Batithe ✨✨ (@rondelosangeles) October 1, 2023
Ever wonder why some Pinoy parents say “Walang pera sa art”? That’s because it’s often painfully true. Unless you’re someone who’s on the upper echelons of the economic food chain, most artists struggle to make ends meet. Take your cue from our local drag entertainers, who pour their heart and soul into wigs, costumes, and performances but often miss out on livable paychecks.
Made a bunch of emotes for a twitch streamer and was promised to get paid once they got partnered. They even used those artworks for merch which at the time I didn’t mind so long as my idol noticed and loved my work.
I never got paid 🙃 https://t.co/EAgc2ERLdB
— dead inside™🖤 (@Lumi_Skullgurl) October 1, 2023
Stories about artists not getting paid are so notorious they become an inside joke. But the sad reality is that these scheming companies and individuals often get away with a mere slap on the wrist. This is a big reality check for those who want to embark on their artistic endeavors.
— Raze (@sunniestaries) October 1, 2023
It makes you wonder how some people’s brains are wired when they refuse to support or work with artists solely based on their nationality. What does it have to do with anything? It’s downright bizarre and feels like a big scoop of discrimination. Art is such a diverse field, and it should be celebrated for its magic of bringing people from different backgrounds together.
Nobody believed I could ever get anything made or published, so I just believed in myself. Along the way, I also ended up believing in a lot of other people and so @penlab_ink was born https://t.co/AcmAn3T1Mq
— Bernie Mercado (@KamoteGuerrero) September 29, 2023
Once you announce to the world that you want to become an artist, prepare to be laughed at or receive a barrage of unsolicited opinions saying you’re not gonna make it. If that’s you, take it from Bernie Mercado, who founded Pinoy online komik platform Penlab, saying:
“Nobody believed I could ever get anything made or published, so I just believed in myself. Along the way, I also ended up believing in a lot of other people and so @penlab_ink was born.”
Never let naysayers stand in the way of chasing your dreams. As long as there are people who continue to believe in and support your work, padayon!
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