It's tough these days, what with all the competition on the internet, to really get your work noticed.
While there's always someone out there trying to convince you to work for free in order to gain exposure, thankfully not everyone falls for that con.
Take the sci-fi artist Travis Wright who found himself on the receiving end of this pitch, by an ACD at Grey NY named Roy Torres.
Out of respect, Mr Wright removed the client in question in this email.
My name is Roy Torres and I'm an Associate Creative Director at a respected global ad agency in New York called Grey. I'm personally reaching out to you to see if you would be interested in working on a proactive print campaign for ****.
I really love your work and believe you would be perfect for this assignment, the only downfall is that because it is proactive, our budget is very slim to none. The idea and campaign would have the backings of a global agency, who would submit your illustration into multiple awards shows and publications getting you global exposure; and the high chance of winning some awards.
If you are interested in the project, please let me know and I'll send you a PDF of the idea.
Hope to hear from you.
Mr. Wright politely declined thusly:
While I appreciate your offer, I find it difficult to believe that a high-profile and international Ad agency like Grey who is working with a multimillion dollar company like **** has slim to no budget for promotional material and artwork that will be shown globally.
I'm sure you wouldn't be willing to work for free yourself, right? You've probably studied and worked hard to get your current position and maybe you even enjoy what you do and that shouldn't mean you don't get paid for the work you do.
I'm no different.
Thank you once again for the Email and offer, I do appreciate the interest in my work and considering you found me to contact me personally I would say I already have great exposure to my work in this modern age of the internet.
Undeterred, Mr. Torres responded with this nice pleasantry.
If we had money for this, we'd be going after real artists…who paint on real canvases. Not the digital fake stuff.
And going onto Behance, searching for "Digital Sci-Fi Artist" took about 3 minutes. Not as much exposure as you think.
But good luck, I'm sure you're having a blast in Tokyo. It's a brilliant city.
Mr. Wright finishes his blog post by pointing out how unprofessional the response was. "Any Creative Director who would reply to an artist in this way has absolutely no respect for any artist, whether they work digitally or otherwise."
At least your work gets some earned media. And you didn't even have to work for free.
And Mr. Torres has some good news, too! It didn't take three minutes to find your email exchange with an artist. It took thirty seconds. You even made the first page of my google search. And just think, it didn't cost you one cent, either.
Yay, free exposure!