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Respect Art

In the past, I didn’t manage my artistic career properly.

For many years, I have advised artists as they operate in the worlds of technology and business, but my own house has remained grossly out of order. As 2016 comes to a close, I hope to do better: the photographs, films, audio, and other work (code excepted) that I’ve created over the years should live in a single archive here on this site.

Many of you have yet to see the vast collection of work that I created, mostly quietly, while working and living in Chicago. I photographed countless shows for local bands, filmed the stories of local artisans, mastered records, and logged many hours behind the mic. Most of what I did was for passion, but it was also business: I hoped to create a portfolio of diverse work and reboot my career as a media freelancer. While that plan never came to fruition, the photographs, audio, and films exist and should be on display, rather than sitting in the corner on a dusty hard drive.

Part of my marketing plan was to grant the subject a license, free-of-charge, to use my work when marketing theirs: for example, a musician could use my photos featuring their likeness when promoting an upcoming show. The only catch was I be credited wherever the image, film, or track was used, and that our joint creation never be sold without the permission of both parties. Unfortunately, I regularly encounter my work outside the confines of this permissive license, and I’m finally ready to act.

Beginning next week, I will send a series of letters that are kind but firm to the offenders, in hopes that they will correct the mistake. This post is the first time I’ve discussed my plans in public, and hopefully, many of the cases will correct themselves before I write directly. While I have encountered unapologetic artists who twist and destroy my work so it fits some predetermined artistic vision, most that I know are reasonable, kind souls who should respond favorably. If not, then I will move to other, more aggressive tactics. The requirements? Either honor my general content license (CC BY-NC-SA) or the content will be removed.

A large part of my life and energy has been spent creating opportunities for artists, established and independent acts alike. It hurts to see that work seemingly taken for granted. I try to invest in the lives of artists I believe in; financially, emotionally, and if I’m lucky, though the art I create. It’s only fair to ask that my work be treated with the same reverence.

Published 22 Dec 2016