March 14, 2017  —  by

live conversation:

Get Artists Paid

credit: youtube auto transcription

ok so we’re live with G.A.P. (get artists paid) and we’re starting these live conversations and many thank you for letting us start this project. Can you please introduce yourself?

yes my name is Ada Rajkovic and thank you for having me

so tell us about G.A.P. (get artists paid) how it came to be, how do you organize yourselves, how many of you are…

yes so G.A.P. (get artists paid) started as a Facebook group it probably started around six months ago or more I’ve lost track but basically um last fall I was talking with a lot of people about starting an artist’s union or just organizing around advocating for artists rights and against publications especially which exploit artists for exposure which i think is this new economy um and so and yeah just having this conversation a lot and then realizing that many other people were feeling the same way and I met some of the fellow organizers through just writing about it on my Instagram or my facebook and then the group has you know is continuously growing and in process of what it actually is and I think that it’s different for many people we have around 2,000 members in the facebook group right now and we’re organizing events outside of it but also a lot of the work is done in the facebook group through conversations it’s an incredibly inclusive group pretty much anyone can can join and so that also means that you’re having people who maybe wouldn’t be in the same room together that are artists but you know obviously there’s a cross race class gender human sexuality there’s differences among what issues artists are facing so it’s important that people can understand each other and so the group is a lot of unlearning I think there’s a lot of unlearning that happens as well as as learning and collaborating and now we’re starting some initiative with our momentum that we have

so the main idea is obviously to get get artists paid but you just recently started this specific campaign which has to do with vice media. when did you start this campaign? last week, was it last week?

yes so this campaign has we’ve been working on this campaign for months for a while now but we launched it this I feel like we have like a soft launch this week and now we’re may be relaunching it today or we’re going to try to keep it going and elaborate on it but yeah it’s this strike was in response to vice media. Vice media is a magazine which is very much people are very much aware of the magazine especially young people who like Millennials are vice’s target audience and it’s what it it uses this demographic to be able to sell to advertisers and so I look how many Millennials are following us like you guys can sell your product on here and so vice comes off as being somewhat of an independent magazine and they call themselves that and they say that they started off as this punk magazine which I think they did when they did start in the 90s they were they started the magazine from like government grants in Montreal and but since then they have become much more corporate and so I think that it’s we want to shift the focus to to less corporate media especially in the political time that we’re in and show that vice is in fact complicit in most of what’s happening politically even though they might report from like a quote-unquote like objective lens there’s really no objectivity when you are but integrated in this like corporate media conglomerate which directly affects the issues on which you’re reporting so vice is complicit in this like global corporatization of the earth which affects all people negatively and they they want to maintain their independence throughout this and say that they can still be honestly reporting which i think is something that is untrue and especially for the artists that are complacent with in this narrative and that used vice to promote their artwork or use white or even write for vice or illustrate for Vice artists are very much tied into their image and I’m with any you know magazine really there’s a lot of art that that has to happen to make it have to make that happen and so and gap is also not just explicitly one I mean it’s whatever I’m one kind of artist it’s all different people and consumers of art and media it’s important for everyone to be critical so through this strike we’re just asking people to be really critical and mindful about their media consumption and many people don’t know that Vice has these ties and that it’s owned by rupert murdoch and disney and a knee hurts like all of these humongous corporations which owned most of the media in America in the world actually

yeah so for the very specific case of vice is not just how it is corporate but the specific corporations that it has ties to maybe… would you say so? maybe we can unpack a little bit those ties it has… maybe we can go through the video you did… you wanna do that?

sure okay

you were saying how by this very visible and young people are very aware of it but it’s surprising how in what way they are aware of it I mean in my perception it seems like they really think it is independent it is… it is young it is… I don’t know it’s hard to label it for me but like they think it is making a change they really think it’s making a change it seems to me that some people really think so

yeah vice repeatedly called itself independent they say that even though they’re working with they have a business show with bank of america that they can still and we must occupy wall street and they call themselves if they say they stand with a communist meanwhile they’re flirting their way up to the one percent um so it’s just very contradictory and I think that it’s quite impossible to not be contradictory as an artist or anyone who’s making money and trying to like have a social conscience um but in the case advice they are very much using their their new corporate ties to exploit people and to carry out the exact same problematic labor practices that these other corporations

and I would say maybe they also are kind of deceiving in terms of size of like business volume like it seems to me that they present themselves you know if they were like still this little project or this like spare little project in different cities but seems like actually it’s a big big player

and you wouldn’t know from the of the like unpaid interns and young people that work for them because I think their target workforce also is like shane smith the CEO has said “oh we have a warehouse or factory of trustafarians” like every every one that they hire has a trust fund like all the interns are supposed to be like rich kids in New York what he’s joking but also not leave because I think that from the reviews of force media a lot of people say you literally can’t afford to work there because the pay is so low that some people are working some side jobs on the weekends in order to basically get just experience or just have this networking in this image of working for vice because it’s such this like I don’t know they have like a cult around them like a cult following kind of

it’s like it’s truly pure branding to me like and nothing of what the brand seems to stand for is even true like it is all façade I would say, right?

yeah it’s a marketing tactic I’m pretty sure and maybe they did start out having genuine intentions well actually I don’t know because the person who started it was really at the heart of the core of vice was Gavin McInnes he was the one who was writing all the content when they first started as Voice of Montreal in the 90s and then Shane Smith came in and was really the business guy who was promoting it and now he kind of will call themselves journalists sometimes but Gavin McGinnis now has left vice and it’s on his own media site or whatever and he’s very much a white supremacist

really?

yeah he said things like oh my god I mean this if you look at his Twitter you’ll get gadon mcginnises Twitter it’s like good it’s just horrendous and he said “I don’t want to pollute my country with anyone like I don’t want to pollute the whiteness in this country” and that he said really anti-semitic and sexist and racist things and he has admitted to using black and female pseudonyms when vice was critiqued towards lack of diversity you instead of hiring actual black people and woman he would just impersonate them which and he’s fine with that he’s probably so proud of that and he he’s like a fox news guy now and very much this like I don’t even like thing alt-right like literally like Nazi

yeah so let’s wacth the video you can ask me to stop at any moment if you want to add any commentary to it and I highly recommend everyone to watch it on G.A.P. (get artists paid) webpage like properly in big size

and there’s this other video you have with like actual quotes from from Vice contributors workers collaborators and it’s crazy how they get away with it it’s not like it’s two quotes it’s a handful of crazy crazy allegation, right?

yeah I think because what they’re doing is quite common there are no real I mean our labor laws here are not that great and vice is everything that they’re doing is legal and that’s a problem you know this problem goes way deeper than just vice media you know they’re allowed to under pay their employees and to be you know part of capitalism is that they can just be making billions and not be paying their employees and they’re making billions because they’re not playing paying their employees I mean they’d still be making a good amount of money but maybe not billions if they were actually paying people living wages which is quite common and i think that people assume that vices ethical because they report on i don’t know i mean they seem young and they seem like they are progressive and they have TV shows about weed and like doing drugs in different countries and lenok yada yada but really is just because they know that this is of interest to young people and that’s why people like rupert murdoch are involved it’s not because Rupert Murdoch cares about the the news that vice is representing because you know Rupert Murdoch is Fox News so the fact that vice is in part owned by fox news it’s very problematic because obviously their politics don’t align like seeming lady but it’s obvious that there’s something there that Rupert Murdoch I don’t want to control or just capitalize on I think in the end it’s all about money and but you know however for advice to be getting money from Fox News Corporation they have to be they can’t do anything that they want I mean they can say that they will but there’s and it seems like they’re doing a lot more reporting than other mainstream corporations possibly but there’s a lot that they’re not reporting on that they have set the sensor out because it will either I don’t know it’ll be a collective interest

so would you say that maybe this specific ties by us are specific to the vice case but when it comes to the to the strategy under there I don’t know their way of doing it seems to me they is very widespread in in the current media landscape it’s not static to bite at all let’s say yes

no it’s definitely not specific to that but it’s just less obvious I think we expect this with other media corporations but less so with something like rice and you know I’m I mean even though like something like Fox News is fucked up in their politics they probably pay I mean people they’re probably get paid more than they do advising giving it’s a very different environment but I think that there’s something to be said about that and I mean even through the video you can see that Huffington Post which is something that is also seen as progressive is actually owned by AOL and by Verizon and which is an incredibly problematic company so I mean and I’ve heard that I’ve also heard the same about Guardian and/or I think it was the Guardian someone was telling me that is was covering the fight for yet they weren’t playing they weren’t paying their employees fifteen dollars an hour they were paying under fifteen dollars an hour so it’s I think it’s important for us to also hold these companies accountable because that’s what they are their companies are not unbiased they are corporations they’re making money from this and I think as as as anyone really not even just artists you really need to deed legitimate that because it shouldn’t be the case it shouldn’t be that you have to exploit people in order to talk about issues that are going on in this world and there are other media sites that don’t do this maybe not as widespread or you know maybe more localized but I think it’s important to think locally in a global way or something like that like to yeah

do you think so because there’s the clickbait video which i found hilarious and this is company coming so widespread like publications that have no like I’m not obligated for any any any corporation to do so they jump on on this kind of coverage that of the clickbait of the ten artists to see in whatever Biennale and this new office that is I don’t know I like watch the video because it’s too good

yeah it is it is true it’s very the rise of the click on ax me I mean that’s something people need to realize do is that clicks literally equals money like because if you look at a press kit that by suspending two possible advertisers they will say like we get this money clicks a month or this many likes or whatever whatever like so all that actually like financially translates to their benefit so that’s why we’re also saying people need to get paid for for everything that they do for them you should never do it if it requires you doing something and you know I think it’s okay people want to write about something without actually using someone else’s labor well there’s even you know there’s different opinions on all of this some people are more like strict than others i guess but yeah

inflammation playing this video okay like this is such a portrait of the media landscape inside now it’s and it’s not just buys at all

yeah exactly I mean vices just call our current focus good our intentions are to eventually link all this together we advise of just one microcosm of the greater landscape

yeah I think yeah I think it’s kind of the tip of an iceberg maybe yeah good in terms of of timing and unlike historically and it was maybe the first to the bottom yeah

I see it I’ll be interesting to see how other people right about this time in India I’m sure there are already seeing people have written but there should be a timeline for sure I think that this is something that you know it’s like if it was Italy during a little something not a normal flight in terms of rotational izing news stories but this is a magical sensationalizing or is using political activism and real um you know Alexa promote HIV but it’s impossible to the pitcher crew bikes it’s just crazy even say that name earthy they used a total to switch a trend so the publisher was you know before that they’re now saying the patriarchy is in every article or feminist um to engage this millennial audience that are of good design that is progressive and and then it reduced city folks to them to this like sickness or otay AGA’s reduce people I feel like I mean I take that when you spread this message this is what I want is like this what sir ian paice trip he is spending a really mixed message and people that are not able to pretty me accra lens nvidia won’t necessarily follow that like a link that this is what no feminine me believe me people saying that feminism is lexi instagram one you know it’s which it has its own place i’m not saying any of this is it even it’s not the way that they promote it kind of like exacerbates this commercialization and like mainstream consumption whereas like everything is way more do you want some way more there’s just there’s no quick ality and this is something that it’s a lot about the a lot about people in the group is that publications like Vice publications like days are more accessible to young people because they will write about them but they’re not critical there’s nothing it that they will say when they write about an artist that is like helping you grow or I mean a difference but I find that they ask the exact same question they have a tablet and it’s like all the buzzwords and then they make a really buzz-worthy title and then they just hype you up but they don’t actually write about your work nor do they know about your work they probably saw something on facebook or instagram and like or we know it’s connection based um and that’s how people get written about just you know as far as the whole clickbait process

yes and it’s kind of empties the those words or those ideas of those hopes which they I think commodify life by making them so commonplace they get like empty in meaning that this article ii which are as when we r becomes complainant that is what I it wasn’t worth the don’t reach the letter marketing machines and retailer making experiments traders was trying to sell with like to provide heavier than uninflated sales tax within the everyone born after the s were stressing us if it was the s a light-hearted appreciation of Fashion Institute of Physics and index of mutton

yeah is a huge player in that right now yeah and they are CEO is Republican donated to app campaigns and I mean I feel like it’s hard people’s imaginations to go that far because it’s my courage what does matter it definitely does in this how people stand in this and this is how no corporations are there’s no like we have free freedom of the press or whatever but like when the meat is so corporately tied then there is no like okay when we probably think whipping their own hides to politics there’s no real supreme air so um you know it is part of like utter has a little political agenda getting in the spotlight um and what sort of Mia is reporting on

yeah and I think in the videos you’ll just a stupid base is somehow tied with by piece babe wait what hi debate that is Magic page oh yeah right part yeah sorry that’s okay

right part is also the one man who Arianna Huffington and Andrew Breitbart founded by media which I mean sorry Arianna Huffington and Andrew Breitbart founded having to both weihnachten was secretive and now Andrew Breitbart went off invited preacher and Reuters wasn’t bad so he’s sure I least consider series around his death but I won’t even do but he so I mean I just shows how connected everything is and how it’s yeah it’s just really crazy you look into it discipline and smaller shop and so yeah where it is noted to their to huffing posted a verizon user feels like all sorted minutes their narrative and there would not be alright narratives through we’re going on giving them a platform and generally they’re as I mean it in we try this that runs an article that from to the fork or wherever the article here about the action of the oppressed by terror and it quotes these neo-nazis and it has photographs of their outfit and is promoting it in bearden base or not being pretty cool it something critical of it I think that this notion of people needed to be objective it comes to issues are ethically and sound like you need to actually if you help someone with a big you need to show that if you showed in that length of it actually wrong and W bit of people too I’m never just about no matter what but there’s a way that people learn how normalised these things and this is from FrontPoint

I know but it’s even that they do guys created girls some diner is when these two get pretty busy it’s most fucked up because they’re getting pretty girl political work to live and his stomach was political aside like debate or how do you prefer it backward okay and besides that we’re having such the present as I’m not in yeah and almost analogy but it’s like because not great bar is in one is right to people this is so funny when they do get really like is it shortly my mind

Susan it is like is it is it still okay for them to be critical even though like their actions are not critical or like how can vice actually change and be better if you’re on it so I think that that is so but I don’t think that they can be as long as they’re like I don’t want I want to get there about by civil at this point I’m not doing them changing it ways because I think that their ways are inherently fucked up and they’re not going to listen to the people at the at the bottom telling them this is this is messed up even if it is and what are they going to do like drop their contracts with all these people i don’t know i really i probably probably but even if their foundation is this guy data McGuinness who like i had consulted with the founder of hipster dumb and like is a literal not see white super and it’s like up there if that their route the know like Vice cannot it can’t be saved there to be people but instead of investing its time into fixing buys I think we need you and bedtime into these intention in think publications they’re not that are doing work that vice co-op and yeah because it will never be honest my do you think that we should have honest media and it’s it’s not a present like oddly but it does exist

yeah but you wanted to honest media that the marketplace for on the video is database size slightly like slices that’s because I did was operate because like this there’s the readers want to consume that are consuming something is Alec I mean Google or I think they are consuming that but they are not really consumed with their thing they are kidding right

right I mean if you go on vices web page you’ll get like bombarded with ads the second but you’re on it and that to me is like okay you cook a few in place a little bit when you go on something like an even Democracy Now or not like X but when you go on something like that and I’m so nice what works really independent regulations which were all lists are supported and without any magic intentions as well you know down for over years or something without getting corporate money and so if possible it’s like these people are always asking for money which is the point but it possible to not be front with corporate dollars and with these corporate interests so and demography now is one example of listeners when viewer supported which I don’t know I think that’s like a good model and a way to know that you can really trust something is where their money from

yeah so how do you campaign getting on how what the reactor your audience by brought it with you get in touch with with your calling but basically

yeah we’re we call it like literally to strike I mean I think like if I name doesn’t even more interesting hold on but like if you’re someone who and we’re just to not work on some level from Emily are better than just share the strike or just about it still and don’t like I think that there’s this weird issue with people who have such loyalty to their job job well you can tell have an opinion you can still at leave thanks so I bet just yeah sharing it and then having people create McLaren around and then having actually we’re supplies when they reach out and say no I’m not work with you because I’m instead of this again I kept sending them we have our can then cause these people had a non-veg right place and he is complicit and it’s kind of slow i doubt it not be like to be vertical all the time or like it’s not like um but my wrong study I wouldn’t usually table and uh understood because my cough too because the mind people won’t relate content folder but there’s really everyone if places inside they still get conducting steps are never so I think that we don’t to be hosted problematic powders I just and she called you for being a mom right over and I see kingly

really get me out of that process give the rush okay yeah

no I don’t get it was like um those about house corporations are selling you like crap out of new like sector with up and I think that’s definitely true student debt but when you I think that like it’s like service level and so when you actually

get the same thing yeah

I lack exactly like it’s all its aesthetic regrets and then when you actually get to the um Sheila Kuehl issues and ask people really participate and something other than like you know posting something on all this also cater sex week really just I’m serious that’s fine but some you know people curate their pages needed to be a certain way and upon this color than what kind of oh and so there’s definitely a conflict say one thing and it be they mostly you know take action around us but we all thought I know a bit so thank you but they have any cheese with psychics and probably freaking out at the ball at its incorporation and is it turned me on I don’t know I think I could see where do they get more it’ll send make more content and a specific sound away these aren’t going to your neck and uncle so where I knew some more ball with no shirt but people are into the Coalition on that and we more work in your life or like an IRL events for nothing at the end of April laser and owner in New York when we doing event outfit elected money and cydia panel and a market for jobs little girls idea we cooperative for clapping so I could be interviewed find more with me collaborative and cooperative with other artists and create alternative sustainable creative ecosystems that do not involve each operations on and tapping pen surgery right now but it could change

sure about this idea that outer space to play it up let’s return she act for example looking for conversation dtn just like

our email or through gmail com what will actually reach out to halogen corals and just in our money or whatever ample day we are yet made it is like that you have not paid off and I know you’ll spread me as a four-pitch I was created language around that and then shared that is a lot of cool I know it let’s ship date to the certainly locked on to know if I should be paid for my greater and I’m even the labor so and I think that it making me work I’m not fully yet but it comes another totally dishonest people because right now see a lot of it is just going first person’s industry and so and we had some dispatch totally totally closer in campaign or project or whatever it is the full reaching up artist and play more indicator to see proof and people can find out that exactly the same thing and it’s actually ethical and if one person is a date or do not people can actually find all out in this space and so if we looked around that and we find a lot from corporations mostly the responses have not been great when I expect that I don’t expect them to catch on to the super fast but I sort of persistence and awareness and having more people um like believe the patient paid and never with free I mean there are some exceptions probably or like friends always having people pay awesome purchasing yell that’s relative to what they can the board is what you need and I think it’s important not in Canada budget like I matically mean kind of dollars

ready next eleven on that you said it was an easy for me to realize I have guessed pathetic even like analogy how Matthew I guess a an ugly depends confusing for anyone

yeah yeah we I mean I went are cool and so I was kind of I guess training to be an artist professionally whatever but I wasn’t like a case because there was no education around how to survive as an artist post art school because you’re really in this bubble when when you’re in it and yeah there was no information around that and so I were just kind of left to my own devices i graduated and I mean and art was also i think the thing is that art is seen as this luxury because it kind of is it was a huge privilege for me to be able to go to art school um and then I think when I got out there was this expectation that all artists are like rich kids and toward to not be taken what art world actually is like that like the art world itself not made up artist made up of a lot of like rich people and I what that Lee come in from a place of privilege to we’re like I could work reason I could work an internship that I wasn’t getting paid because of having a lot of my parents and I didn’t realize it like this is actually detrimental need to be working for free and getting impression that my work is not labor and if you also can’t afford can you like another one they can afford it and so they should um and I even like doing work for friends like I went to school for photo and I was constantly making videos and both people and not charging anything because I’m lucky to have this opportunity to make us for them or something though and I noticed that around me a lot with like all my a lot of sense to UM who just don’t think to ask money because they’re like scared and I said never needs to be more education around that when you’re ocean when you’re in school that you shouldn’t be working for feel so that if you work for free that you are just you’re like disadvantaging someone else it cannot afford you to be an artist because it’s so insecure so yeah

is that anything which is ok to work for another without the conversation

I think if you’re working for a friend and it is ok like Oh making bunch or I’ll give you a ride this day or whatever lake um ok but i think that people are really weird to talk about me people are really insecure about it people like I think that it needs to be deeply sighs to just be able to like bring it up and talk about it and there’s also anxiety that comes on working and being like um can I get paid or not much I just read all these like vs chiefs of passive-aggressive way of talking about money and it causes a lot of unnecessary problems than if it were to just be spoke about um on this person is something I still trouble with like for sure I don’t know how to value my labor under percent and constantly being challenged and I’m also challenge I’m like paying people to like I ran an arc speak for a little bit and like it was like a collab different face but like I that point I was like okay all the work that I’m doing is for fries like I’m not paying anyone but now I’m like I can’t not pay someone if I’m asking them like I had some interns I would buy to lunch and stuff but like I don’t know I think it’s like now is where did you I’ve learned so like if I were to do it again I wouldn’t I wouldn’t not based on learning like we’re all coming from dinner plate is and owning our shit and hopefully learning so yeah I’m just some vulnerabilities with you

ok so we’re going to do that we’re going to kids like you and I are you so I think there’s many open red way we open the position which is very cool and let’s get you guys anything

okay cool thank you so much