Hey, people—artists deserve to be compensated fairly for their work, and if you can’t afford them, the least you could do is refrain from calling their work garbage (that’s not a lot to ask for is it?).
A young Filipino artist named Shiela Mae Omolon has gone viral after she called out a would-be client late last week for low-balling and disrespecting her during negotiation.
Omolon posted screenshots of her Facebook chat with the client, simply named Xaxon, who showed her a sample of the kind of work that he wanted her to make. When the 19-year-old Omolon told the client that she charges at least PHP1,000 (US$20) for an artwork, Xaxon answered in Filipino, “Can you charge lower? It’s too expensive.”
“That’s really how it is,” Omolon replied. “I have to spend a few hours working on that.”
But the client persisted and asked Omolon if she could charge PHP500 (US$10) instead. Instead of giving in, Omolon sent Xaxon samples of what a PHP500 artwork looks like.
Xaxon replied, “Your fee is too high. For that kind of work, other people will just charge PHP50 (about US$1).”
Refusing to budge, Omolon said, “Sorry, but if you can’t accept my price, you can just work with the other artists you mentioned.”
“You’re shameless,” Xaxon shot back. “If it weren’t for us, you will not get any commission. That’s just worth PHP500. You’re garbage. I’ll just work with other people.”
But instead of stopping, Xaxon tried to persuade Omolon again. “Just agree to PHP500. F*ck it, your work is not that worth it.”
“F*ck you, you’re not worth it,” Omolon replied. Xaxon then unleashed a barrage of insults directed at the artist, whom he called “garbage” and money-obsessed.
As of writing, Xaxon’s account could no longer be found. Most netizens were furious with the way he treated Omolon, and their exchange has been shared almost 8,000 times since it appeared.
In an interview over Facebook Messenger with Coconuts Manila, Omolon said the conversation with Xaxon happened on Thursday afternoon.
“Of course, I was hurt [by what he said],” Omolon said. “He could have spoken to me in a nice way but he chose to say hurtful words. He even called my works ‘garbage’ so I feel offended.”
The client blocked Omolon shortly after the exchange. Fearful that Xaxon would ruin her reputation, Omolon decided to post screenshots of their conversation to show that he was rude to her during negotiations.
“I was really hurt by what happened. But there were a lot of supportive people so I just let things be,” the artist said.
Omolon reminded the public to be respectful of an artist’s feelings during negotiations.
“Be sensitive. If you don’t have nice words to say, just leave. Please respect the artist and [your] bad attitude should just be kept to yourself,” she said.
Have you been in a similar situation? Tell us by leaving a comment below or tweeting to @CoconutsManila.
This article, Filipino artist slams client for low-balling and insulting her during negotiation, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!