“NO, I will NOT work for free.”

“No, I will NOT work for free.”

I bet you are intrigued by the above statement. Perhaps you are wondering what has inspired me to write the statement. Well, it is a tale that needs to be told, has been told, and a story many others have also experienced. So sit back, grab a big cup of coffee…..it is time to share the story as to why I WILL NOT work for free.

city hall park, red deer, albertaIt all started with this picture. Honest to goodness it did. A shot of the City Hall Park in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada. So while I thought I was posting on this blog a beautiful image showing our city’s downtown in a most positive light, what I didn’t realize was this image was the gateway to insult and a demeaning of my worth.

Was it a crap picture? No. That was the problem. The problem was this was a picture that others wanted.

blog work for free rdpsd

One day in September I received a message in my WordPress notifications requesting permission to use the image. The message was from Red Deer Public Schools. A publicly funded institution wanting permission to “use” my “photo” for the foreign student brochure. I was a bit put out. A bit insulted. Instead of getting into it with the person requesting use, a person who is paid a salary for their work (that clearly involves surfing the net….obviously….your tax dollars at work!), I simply didn’t respond. My tactic was “If you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all.”

I knew this would eventually happen, I just wasn’t expecting a PUBLICLY FUNDED institution, an institution funded by our TAX DOLLARS, to behave this way.

For months my emails and messages were normal and then one day I opened an email from the Government of Alberta. It read:

blog work for free alberta govt 1The pictures being discussed were of the Jeongia in Edmonton, Alberta.

Jeongja, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Jeongja- Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Jeongja detail - Edmonton, Alberta, Canada I responded thinking surely the Government of Alberta is going to provide compensation for the use of images. WRONG. Instead I received the following response:

blog work for free alberta govt 2Yep, the Government of Alberta was going to offer me in compensation for my work “good karma and lots and lots of appreciation” . That’s pretty special isn’t it? Could you imagine how far I would get paying my provincial tax in “GOOD KARMA”?. My gut tells me that wouldn’t go over so well. “GOOD KARMA” also doesn’t feed my children, or clothe them or keep a roof over their heads.

Isn’t it special when someone sitting in a cushy job, playing on the internet, paid with MY TAX DOLLARS, tells me that all my work is worth is “good karma”.

As you can guess this one really rubbed me the wrong way. Insulted. Undervalued. They came to me regarding the images and then expected me to hand them over because artists in our society have ZERO value. Did anyone pick up on the irony? I, a born and raised Albertan, from a family that has been in Alberta well over a century, was supposed to GIVE AWAY their work to celebrate the cultural history of Korea. A twinned relationship with a foreign country was more important to the Government of Alberta than treating their own productive taxpaying lifelong resident fairly.

The Government of Alberta expected me to work for free.

Yes, I wrote an email regarding the fact that it was about time the government started to appreciate and see value in artists. I couldn’t stay silent on this one. I am sure it was just deleted.

A message was left on my phone about there being a “misunderstanding”. How? I didn’t return the call. How much devaluation should one have to endure? Chances are they were just going to withdraw the offer of “good karma” or perhaps charge me to use my own images. I wouldn’t doubt it.

red deer city hallSo today my phone dings, I look down, and this is the email that has just come through:

blog work for free red deer advocateThis time it is the Red Deer Advocate asking to “use” an image of Red Deer City Hall for their advertising department. Seriously. Are you kidding me?

First I was going to email back (as in the case of the Government of Alberta). Then I was just going to ignore it (as I did with Red Deer Public Schools). Then I decided to BLOG it. And so I did.

Does anyone else see how bizarre this request is? The Red Deer Advocate EMPLOYS their very own PHOTOGRAPHERS. The Red Deer Advocate has ARCHIVES. It was +28C today, the sky was blue, City Hall is a 10 minute drive from the newspaper’s headquarters, yet they would rather I just GIVE them my work than shoot a picture of the bloody thing.

They want to “USE” my image for THEM to MAKE MONEY!

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I’m tired of publicly funded institutions trying to screw me over.

I’m tired of the government trying to screw me over.

I’m tired of big business trying to screw me over.

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I am professionally trained in both art and photography. I have diplomas in Fine Art and Design plus in Photographic Technology. I have years of experience on two different continents. If you want my images I must have FINANCIAL compensation.

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The Red Deer Public Schools are NOT a charity.

The Government of Alberta is NOT a charity.

The Red Deer Advocate is NOT a charity.

—————-

I WILL NOT WORK FOR FREE

(and if you ask me to, I’ll blog about you too! Enough is enough.)

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The Blur of a Long Weekend

It feels like posting on my blogs has slipped by the wayside as of recent. It isn’t due to lack of things to share, but rather that we have been on the go constantly. Life has been non-stop.

Some people enjoy leisurely long weekends, kicking back, hanging out, chilling. We don’t do that……ever (seriously). Generally long weekends leave us needing another long weekend to recover. So I thought I would share our blur of a long weekend.

Rogers Pass, BC, Canada

Rogers Pass, BC, Canada

The coast was calling us. We had itchy feet and fancied a road trip of a leisurely drive west. We joke about our “evening drive”. It is for the most part an evening drive, we leave early afternoon, drive evening and part of the night to reach the ferry at Tsawwassen for the first boat of the day. We love the drive, all 1142 km of it, with world class scenery most of the day and an open road at night

Gold nugget at the Royal BC Museum

Gold nugget at the Royal BC Museum

The drive went so well (as did the nap on the ferry!) that we decided to make a quick detour through Victoria (BC, Canada). We’ve discovered that there is a trick to us enjoying Victoria, we have to do the city fresh off the insanity of Alberta. We have to still be in that high intensity mode to handle the busyness and congestion of the city. We have tried in the past to go to Victoria after the slower pace of being on Pender Island and it is just too much, leaving us wondering why we went to “town”. So now we go to Victoria before heading to our little Gulf Island and we thoroughly enjoy it.

The Royal BC Museum had just opened a new exhibit, Gold Rush!, and we were keen to see it. Our children were well into checking out the artifacts and anything involving mining; clearly an addiction to Minecraft fueled this interest.

Thunderbird Park

Thunderbird Park

From the museum we were off to Thunderbird Park and the amazing totems.

Munro's, Victoria, BC, Canada

Munro’s, Victoria, BC, Canada

Our parking time was ticking down, and the ferry time nearing, but we found time for a speed walk through town to Munro’s. Heaven. A real book store. Our children had never been there, but being massive readers they were in love.

blog may victoria fish and chipsFor us, every trip to Victoria must include fish and chips. We suffer chippy withdrawal often. When we lived in the U.K. we were constantly popping around to the chippy for fish and chips, pie and chips, chips and curry……..oooh, and chicken pineapple half and half (we’ll see how many readers recognize that one!). Our chippy withdrawal gets so bad that we have on occasion considered driving to White Rock (12-13 hour drive) just to eat chips (and fried clams) on the front. There is nothing better than chips eaten out of paper wrapping. Even though catching the ferry was touch and go, we hit a chippy, and feasted as we drove to the ferry.

Sunset From the Back of the Ferry

Long weekend ferry travel is busy, unpredictable, and sometimes insane. Perhaps if we didn’t ride the ferries so much in the winter we wouldn’t notice how different long weekends are. In the winter there is always space on a sailing, people are pretty chill, I grab a chai, head upstairs to the sitting lounge, and knit in relative peace (as much peace as you get when you have five children). In the summer cars are everywhere, people are everywhere, behavior is crazy, conversations are entertainingly pretentious….it is a treat. My husband and I could just sit and eavesdrop for hours. I’m not sure what it is about long weekends that makes everyone go all Fruit Loops, perhaps it is spending time with extended family, or the attempt to one-up their friends, but it makes for a people watching extravaganza.

This weekend was no different. people panicking to get on the ferry sailing, shouting at the ferry employee in the booth…frenzy. We sit in our car and watch in amazement. Worst case is that there is another ferry in four hours, and in our world that equates as a three and a half hour nap waiting for the next sailing. Naps are a luxury. We pull into our assigned lane with no hope of getting on the sailing due to leave in less than five minutes. Get settled in. Take off the cowboy boots (seriously…the red ones…..I have a collection!). Fluff the pillow (we come prepared) and plan for a nap. Well wouldn’t you know it our line starts moving. Car after car drives on to the ferry until we are at the front of the line. We’ve been there before, the car that doesn’t make it on a sailing, so we aren’t too hopeful. Just as we are settling in again the attendant says he is going to try to fit us on….and they do….at the back of the boat….sideways. I guess there is a first for everything.

blog may pender_8772 aOnce on the island we took care of the most pressing things. First was grocery shopping; yes we shop local (I’ll collect my gold star later!). Second was to sort out the garden. The vegetable beds were growing great . My new plantings from February and April were still hanging in there (it is an iffy area I’m trying to revive). The apple trees are in bloom with promises of apples. The planters still flowered. The forested part continues to get wilder and wilder. I got to work and watered and watered; hand watering with a watering can is a workout. Hours later,grass cut and plants watered, we headed for an evening walk down to the far end of Medicine Beach.

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Medicine Beach, Pender Island, BC, Canada

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Mark praying to the stair gods in hope that just for once something will be square and level.

The next day was equally busy. A trip to the hardware store was necessary to get materials to replace our deck stairs. Followed by a trip to the grocery store. Followed by a trip up to Sea Star Estate Farm and Vineyards. We were too late for the food truck (my fault, I was sending an epic text which delayed us!) but had a chance to check out the latest art exhibit. Quite a cool space to display art.

blog may pender sea starNext the plan was to work on the deck stairs some more, but we got side tracked by the sunshine as decided to put the boats in instead.

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Part of our fleet at Peter Cove South, Pender Island, BC, Canada.

Paddling over, we got back to work. Of course as dinner time approached we started to think of what we should make for supper, which morphed into “Let’s not cook, let’s get Pender Sushi.”

blog may pender_8925As Pender Sushi is quite a drive from home, we tend to do take out and eat dinner on the beach. The choice of beach for dinner was Roesland, a Parks Canada site. Food and fresh air are a great combination, and the view was passable…….

blog may pender_8920 aor possibly amazing.

Sunday saw us closing up the house, sorting out another knitting order (yep, always working!), a visit to a beach, and the night ferry out.

blog may ferry

Knitting at the ferry terminal at Village Bay, Mayne, BC, Canada.

And off we went across the sea, over the mountains, and back to the prairies of Alberta.

A blur of a weekend.

“Standing Tall” – newly completed work

"Standing Tall" Roe Islet series (2015) 24"x24" acrylic on panel

“Standing Tall”
Roe Islet series
(2015)
24″x24″
acrylic on panel

Painting has been going well over the last few months. Switching to panel and a square format seems to have allowed the work to flow naturally off the brush. This painting is acrylic on panel and measures 24″ by 24″.

Roe Islet (Pender Island, BC, Canada) continues to be a source of inspiration for my paintings, and I am sure by the time I have exhausted all the painting possibilities I will know every rock and tree on the islet. The arbutus amaze me in the way they twist and turn, and the red of the trunks is hypnotizing.

 

Artwork by Debra Hunter
(Red Deer, Alberta & Pender Island, British Columbia, Canada)
For the website and inquiries please visit:
www.debra-hunter.com

For more work from Canadian creators, you can also visit www.handmade-canada.com .

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Handmade in Canada…things are looking good…..plus a link to some great music

LMYR 1I may have mentioned my new project in passing on this blog before. The project is called Handmade in Canada. The concept is to profile Canadian artists, artisans, musicians, writers and growers (and food producers).

leaf red 3x3 square 100dpi

Being an artist and maker myself (and knowing many other creative people), the most difficult part of our craft is promoting what we create, showing people what we do, and letting people know where and how to purchase our creations. Most of us want to be tucked away in our studios working away rather than marketing ourselves. After a lot of thought I made the decision to create a site to do just that, and the site/blog is www.handmade-canada.com . In the last few weeks interest has been growing. We are seeing some great things made by Canadian makers and hearing some great music. We are also meeting some really cool people. This is turning out to be a fabulous project with great potential.

handmade in canada badge

As I have a ton of readers on this blog, I will also on occasion be linking through profiles from the Handmade in Canada site. It won’t turn the blog into an on going infomercial, I wouldn’t want to rob readers of updates on my seedlings or the ongoing war with the insurance industry (near the end now…report for scope of repairs was 14 PAGES long….I’ll share more in another post). I want to give each of these creative people as much exposure as possible ( and show all the readers some pretty cool stuff too!).

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If you follow www.islandhomeblog.wordpress.com I will also be sharing west coast creators on that blog, especially since home studios are so much of the island culture.

LMYR 1

Today I am going to share a link for Liam MacKenzie and Young Rust. Check out their bio by clicking HERE, and definitely listen to their music……it is really, really good.

Hopefully by sharing links, blog readers will find some new music that they love, a book they want to read, some art to admire,  handmade items to cherish, or even locally produced food.

The site www.handmade-canada.com is also a WordPress blog, so feel free to follow along and discover some talent that has been home grown here in Canada.