The Guardian’s Illustration Contest Faces Pushback For ‘Exploiting’ Artists
By Mikelle Leow, 03 Sep 2019
Image via Sharaf Maksumov / Shutterstock.com
UK newspaper The Guardian recently joined the ranks of other big names wishing to reward talents with the grand prize of exposure. However, an outcry from the creative circle has pushed the website to tweak the terms to its Illustration Prize contest.
Previously, the media outlet asked for “under-represented” artists to submit their work for a chance to have their designs printed on tote bags containing newspapers for the 2020 Glastonbury Festival, according to Digital Arts. The winner was to be presented with a £8,000 cash prize (US$9,600), while nine runners-up would be promised the “exposure” of being featured on the Guardian website.
Understandably, the announcement irked members of the art community, who criticized the company for “exploiting” artists. Landscape illustrator Rod Hunt, for instance, questioned the Guardian’s terms and conditions, which “demand copyright assignment for [the] winning illustration.”
“If you want to support new talent, offer fair terms!” he continued.
Following backlash, the Guardian has made revisions to the application process of the competition, detailing to Digital Arts that the paper “always strives to commission new artists and emerging talent.”
A News Media spokesperson for the company confirms that the application process will disclaim that “only shortlisted entrants will be asked to produce bespoke work,” and that prizewinners “will be paid appropriately.”
In addition, the representative stresses that the cash prize and exposure are an “additional way” to scout for up-and-coming creatives.
The amended terms and conditions to the program can be found here.
The Guardian is launching an illustration prize – and it wants ideas for Glasto. The paper says the competition, which is free to enter and will award £8k to the best idea, is aimed at under-represented artists at an early stage of their career https://t.co/M6TXXG13Qm pic.twitter.com/WB1tW6FEKt— Creative Review (@CreativeReview) August 29, 2019
It's a great idea to work with underrepresented illustrators and there's no doubt this is an exciting opportunity. But surely you could just ask for portfolios? Instead of requesting underrepresented artists to work for free in the hopes of being paid? https://t.co/keSUPevHLO— Holly Exley (@hollyexley) August 28, 2019
Spec work design contest from the Guardian asks countless people to create a tote bag design for free on the hope of being chosen for pay https://t.co/7H13ntHUff— Matt Bors (@MattBors) August 28, 2019
£8,000 might seem like a lot of money, especially to up-and-coming illustrators, but you have to take into consideration what’s involved.— The Noisy Pencil (@TheNoisyPencil) August 28, 2019
- creating up to 15 illustrations
- Working over a 6 month period
- assigning copy of work to the guardian https://t.co/33VXNZgmbV
Illustrators love what they do. And they want to make a living out of it, including me. It's scary for us to see how undervalued we are. It's disheartening for young illustrators at the beginning of their careers. I hope one day illustrators get the recognition they deserve!— Oliver Averill (@OliverAverill) August 28, 2019
Hello @guardian @GuardianDesign Why do you think it's acceptable to demand #copyright assignment for winning illustration in your Prize terms & conditions? If you want to support new talent offer fair terms! Talk to @theaoi about best practice. https://t.co/nN9i4fSEL4 #notahobby— Rod Hunt (@rodhuntdraws) August 28, 2019
Oof a massive red flag -— Emma Reynolds 🐱 (@EmmaIllustrate) August 28, 2019
'Under the prize contract you will assign all rights in the commissioned illustrations to GNM.'
So they want 15 illustrations and full copyright for 8k? Nah thanks
You’re also giving them permission to use the artwork you upload, worldwide, in pretty much any way they like, as long as they mention the competiton, and they don’t have to pay you a penny. That’s a bloody massive rights grab. pic.twitter.com/pz1DVbdbOm— T.E. (@timeasley) August 28, 2019
[via Digital Arts, cover image via Sharaf Maksumov / Shutterstock.com]
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