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Artist Dies of Exposure: Tim Kreider on Working for Free

Posted by Rebecca Blake on November 10, 2013

© Tim KreiderThis October cartoonist and writer Tim Kreider had a particularly galling week, in which he received no less than three requests for his services, for free – in exchange for “exposure.” The experience drove him to issue a manifesto via The New York Times Op-Ed page, in which he calls upon his younger colleagues to not give away their work. In fairness, Kreider admits that many of the requests come from struggling organizations or publishers. But in his article, "Slaves of the Internet, Unite!" he accurately describes a cultural shift which has occurred, in which creative work has been devalued and demoted to “content”, and in which the ease of digitizing and accessing that work via the Internet has lead to stagnant income increases.

Kreider concludes his article by pointing out that businesses wouldn’t keep making the “free work for exposure” pitch unless it worked on somebody. In response he offers a bit of writing he’s willing to donate: a template for a polite refusal to send in answer  to the next request for free labor.

Tim Kreider splits his time between New York City and the Chesapeake Bay. He is the author of We Learn Nothing: Essays and Cartoons (Simon & Schuster), and his cartoons have been collected in three volumes by Fantagraphics.  He is a contributor to numerous publications, including The New York Times, The New Yorker, and Men’s Journal. He is also the creator of the cartoon, The Pain–When Will It End?, which appeared in the Baltiimore Sun from 2000-2012.

Image © Tim Kreider

You Are What You Kern: Beautiful Web Typography via HTML5

Posted by Rebecca Blake on October 30, 2013

web typography from Amy PapaeliasFor the AIGA Upstate NY Portfolio Workshop this past February, Amy Papaelias created and coded an online resume, “You Are What You Kern,” showcasing beautiful web typography. She welcomes visitors to “poke around” and see how she put it together. The resume was finessed in straight HTML5, using CSS to create section IDs and classes to assign web fonts and control the layout. Such fine tuning is problematic in content management systems such as WordPress and Expression Engine, which make it difficult to override their own CSS structure. However, “You Are What You Kern” is well worth a visit to see what mastering CSS can yield. To make the visit even more worthwhile, Papaelias has included a list of links to some of her favorite typographic resources, from grids and stylesheets, to a how-to on hanging punctuation.

Amy Papaelis is a self-proclaimed type nerd and design educator. She is an assistant Professor of Graphic Design and Foundation at the State University of New York at New Paltz, where she teaches web and interactive design, typography, and 2D design.

The Challenge: Draw a Letter a Day

Posted by Rebecca Blake on October 28, 2013

Draw a Letter a Day, © The Weekend Lab

 

Need a quick creative break (and coffee just won’t do it)? The Weekend Lab is hosting a fun project, Draw a Letter a Day. Visitors to the site are invited to draw a designated letter on screen, download it to their computers, and submit it to either The Weekend Lab’s tumblr page or tweet it to @TheWeekendLab. The project’s tmblr page shows a charming range of letter ideas, from a stick-figure A to a Dino-the-dinosaur D. Since the letters are drawn on screen, each has a wonderful hand-drawn quality.

The project was designed by Savannah College of Art and Design graduate Andrew Herzog, and has already appeared on Best CSS. If you’re interested in participating, dive in soon. The project launched on October 23 and, with one letter appearing per day, is due to complete by November 17. As of Monday, October 28, they were already up to the letter F.

Images © The Weekend Lab.

CARE for Sandy, One Year Out

Posted by Rebecca Blake on October 25, 2013

Care for Sandy before & afterOn the first anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, it's fitting to revisit one of our favorite charities — one which creatives with good Photoshop skills can assist. CARE for Sandy (Cherished Albums Restoration Effort) was started by creative director Lee Kelly in response to a web post about a wedding photo which washed ashore after the hurricane devastated Staten Island. While tracking down the photo's owner and offering her restoration services, Kelly realized she could tap into her network of colleagues to organize assistance for other owners of damaged photos. On November 10 — 11 days after the hurricane slammed the metro-New York City area — CARE for Sandy was launched.

In the year since then, the organization has conducted numerous scanning events in Queens, Staten Island, Long Island, New Jersey, and Brooklyn, accruing a backlog of thousands of photos in need of repair. Over 550 volunteers have contributed their services so far, removing spots, grime, and scratches, repairing heavy water damage, and even rebuilding entire areas of the photos that have flaked or torn off. To date, over 1,100 photos have been adopted for restoration by volunteers. While CARE is not at the moment running scanning events, families or individuals can submit scanned photos to the organization by following their submission guidelines.

The CARE for Sandy website offers numerous resources for potential restorers or those with damaged photos. Amateur restorers intent on building their skills should visit the website's Restoration Toolbox. It features a number of how-to videos on clone and heal tools, color correction for restoration, and masking tips, as well as guidelines on avoiding painted or noticeably artificial results. For those with photos that are  stuck to their frames, or have become "photo bricks" – photos that are stuck to each other once dried, or maybe even still moist, creating a solid “brick” of photos — the website has posted Salvaging Tips.

Moving forward, CARE for Sandy faces significant challenges. One is finding restorers with advanced retouching skills; as the website’s before and after gallery demonstrates, many of the photos require restoration skills which verge on the magical. Another obstacle is the abandonment of restoration projects (often with no communication) by volunteers who either become too busy or realize that their projects are too advanced for their skill set.

As an incentive to lure volunteers, the build-your-own-website company (and Kelly's webhost) virb has extended a discount of 50% for three months to CARE for Sandy volunteers. An additional incentive is a commemorative exhibition being planned for as early as this Spring, which will showcase the volunteers’ retouching skills. (CARE has received an impressive amount of press coverage – yet another perk for volunteers.)

While CARE has about 150 active volunteers at any one time, they are actively looking for more assistance from qualified individuals. Individuals interested in assisting can register online. For those wanting to see a sample of the kind of restoration work which is required, the website has posted ten “Adopt Me” galleries categorized by priority and skill level.. Kelly can also use help for a number of activities beyond photo restoration, from printing and framing photos for families, to creating content for CARE's news blog and contacting photo recipients. After countless hours of running CARE for Sandy, Kelly could also use a bit of personal assistance. As an experienced freelance creative director, she's always looking for paid work herself. After all, someone needs to pay the bills.

Above and below: some samples for CARE for Sandy photo restorations. Images © CARE for Sandy.

Copyright Office Report Acknowledges Impact of Small Claims Issues with Individual Creators

Posted by Rebecca Blake on October 17, 2013

copyright office logoOn September 30th, the Copyright Office released their report on copyright small claims. The report documents “significant costs and other challenges of addressing [small] copyright  claims” and recommends the establishment of an alternative system of adjudication within the Office. The report acknowledges the need for a streamlined approach to smalls claims, but one which permits alleged infringers to vigorously defend themselves.

The report was the result of three notices of inquiry over a two-year study by the Copyright Office, in which the office requested information from the public on whether the current legal system hinders copyright owners from pursuing copyright claims of relatively small value (those of a several thousand dollars or less). The Office also held public hearings in November 2012, at which the Guild testified. The Guild submitted three comment letters to the Office, and included the results of a survey the Guild conducted based on the questions in the Copyright Office’s notice of inquiry. About 1,200 copyright holders responded to the survey.

The Copyright Office specifically thanked those who participated in the Office’s public call for feedback and noted that the small claims issue particularly impacts individual creators. The Guild is proud to have participated in this public process, and thanks the many individual artists who responded to the Copyright Office’s call for information. The Guild is very pleased that nearly all of our recommendations were supported by the Copyright Office and outlined in the Study Report.

The full report is available on the Copyright Office’s website.

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