Companies Taking Advantage of Young Artists with "Art Contests"

As a hungry young artist, you're motivated to put your work out into the world and do whatever it takes to gain "exposure". I respect the hustle, I've been there myself. However, I'm here to warn you about companies who take advantage of young artists. Companies are aware of this, and use a tactic called "crowd sourcing" where they would put up some kind of art contest and the "chosen" winner will receive a prize. Sounds harmless right? Well, it's not!!! These companies are taking advantage of the art community by putting out these contests. They would get 100s or even 1000s of submissions, and pick 1-3 winners. That's 100s and 1000s of free artwork for almost nothing. 99% of the participants will have wasted their time because they won't get chosen. It's a huge advantage for these companies because they have the luxury of browsing through free artwork, until they pick the winner. It's like ordering a ton of food at a restaurant and only paying for the dishes you ate. 

A young artist should be dedicating their time and effort into their craft and developing their portfolio instead of wasting their time for a company to take advantage of them. A respectable company would pick an artist they want to work with, offer him/her a commission rate and work from there. It's really that clean and simple. So don't waste your time with these contests. Your chances of winning is very low, you'll end up wasting your time, and these companies get tons of free art to pick from. How many well established artists do you see competing in these bullshit contests? NONE! Why is that? Because they know it's bullshit, and they get paid for the time they spend. As a community, we should protect and help each other. That's what I'm here to do, so feel free to ask me anything you want in regards to art and the business of art. I certainly don't know everything, but I know enough to help young artists avoid certain pitfalls. I've been screwed over and I want you guys to learn from my mistakes. 

Ben K.

  • Isn’t that the truth. I refuse to do spec work but I understand the appeal for younger graphic artists who are just trying to get into the field! If only they knew they were cheapening their own industry by working for free.

    Kelly Swift on
  • So true. It’s very sad. The same thing has been happening in Photography for years. Loads of contests, without allowing you to watermark your images, and then they have use of your photos. ;(

    Lori Solojuk on

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