A few rules about having friends who are artists and creatives:
1. Don’t insult them by asking them to work for free unless you’re going to take care of their expenses
2. Never goad them about opportunities for “exposure” as if that’s going to get actual food on the table
3. You can’t just off them a gig and set the rate yourself. $50 for a graphic design usually amounts to less than the federal minimum wage.
4. When they share their art online, don’t comment about you “want a copy” and you “want to buy it!” and then proceed to not buy it or worse—ask them to draw something for you for free because “we’re friends.” (see point 1 above)
4A. That’s because art supplies cost cash. Instruments, cameras, pencils, whatever medium your friend chooses—that costs money.
5. Musicians spend years honing their craft and they don’t always want to go out of their way to attend your crappy open mic night
6. Don’t blame artists for having to charge for their services unless you’re willing to do something about the systems that make it necessary.
We’re just the messenger and the idea that we should consistently give away our work is an insult to worker’s rights. I don’t ask anyone to clean my stuff for free, or attend a restaurant and explain how I’m paying their chef in exposure. Pay artists. Period.
Even giving way art to assist with social justice and charitable causes is a financial burden most artists can’t afford.
(A lot of this stuff I learned several years ago when working on a project with CultureStrike, and many artists who work with them can talk more eloquently about the topic.)