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A Related Story

With regard to the ongoing "artist's signature debate", I'd like to share a story.
A former (and rather cold-blooded) art teacher of mine once offered the class this advice: "An artist or craftsman, no matter how talented or successful, should never, ever, give a piece of work away for free--not to a family member, close friend, or fan. An artist should never donate his time or services for the same reason a doctor doesn't give away free exams or free medical advice at parties; he/she is a trained professional, wit many years of expensive schooling and/or time spent working at his/her craft and an artist deserves always to be compensated for it."
I don't agree with this entirely. I still do free drawings for my family, I give my friends' sketches quite often, and I don't think I would ever charge a children's hospital to paint a mural, but there is some sense to the above statement. The fact is that there are a lot of people out there who do not care about fans, artists, or the perceived value of any human beings' autograph. They don't understand why people collect things and they have no idea how someone can be "starstruck". (This is why many professional baseball players are now charging children for autographs). There have always been, and always will be, people who prey on the services of others for profit. Stealing someone elses work or idea is a much easier way of making money.


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