“It just isn’t worth it.”

This is an artist friend of mine on the idea of a group of artists banding together to form a larger company.  He’d know, because he’s been working with one of the most storied of these artist conglomerates in Singapore, which I won’t mention by name since they’ve been having some financial trouble lately.

I had been throwing the idea to him because it’s something that’s been rolling around in my head for these past few years: to build a purely art based outsourcing company that could handle the needs of clients worldwide that undercuts similar studios in more developed countries.  It seems like a good idea, but if it was they why weren’t there more of these studios popping up?  My friend explained to me that for the most part artists didn’t need a larger entity to gain prospective employers’ notice.  I kind of understand what he’s trying to say.  There isn’t any added value to an artist’s finished work by having a team around him; Your work is either good or bad, and it’s instantly apparent.

A friend of mine built a web development company based on the sole fact that at a certain point companies can’t trust a project to a single person.  The scale would be so large that they simply couldn’t bank on an individual.  I assumed that the same theory would hold true for a freelance artist but maybe that just isn’t the case.  For an artist, there’s no back end to handle, no site that needs to be maintained.  You simply submit the work that was asked of you and it’s done.  you don’t need to worry about your artwork having any bugs down the line.  All you need is a bunch of good contacts, and you’re good to go.  A few successful artists in the Philippines make a decent living that way, and my friend is soon to join them, as he recently quit his job in Singapore.

So maybe there is nothing to be gained economically by having an artists’ studio, and I just miss the camaraderie.  I miss the energy that can be harnessed by a group of like-minded individuals in the same room.  I miss singing to Shai and Boyz 2 Men and Chair Olympics and lunchtime DOTA.  I hate having to look back and say “damn, those were good times, weren’t they?”.  Working from home may give you a lot of freedom, and it omes with a lot of perks, but it sure can get lonely sometimes.


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