Wednesday, May 30, 2007

selling out

Recently, I have been depleting my finances at an alarming rate and in consequence have been spending my time trying to think of crazy get-rich-quick schemes. Legal ones, mind you. In the end, I always come to the conclusion that if I could somehow get one (or two or three) of my books some kind of fame, fortune would follow.

I think this conclusion comes to me after watching mind-numbing tv day in and day out. Suddenly even the dumbest tv shows seem like smart marketing. A while ago, Chris Barton wrote on his blog about the artistic choice of NOT selling out--something which I applaud in theory yet find myself unable to embrace in practice.

But would it be so bad? Would your opinion of me and my work be diminished if say, my books were on the Kikkoman labels or Chinese take-out boxes? What do you think?

12 comments:

Anna Alter said...

The kind of fame you are building Grace is more the cumulative and long lasting kind, building your readership with each book... I have no doubt that fortune will be the end result! Though that might not pay the bills now.

Jeff Newman said...

Hi Grace,

I think that as long as you continue to write and illustrate your own books, and you have a desire to do so, it's not really an issue. Merchandise saturation doesn't dilute the quality of a book. The problem arises when the franchise opportunities become more important to the creator than the original product(see the sad story of Jim Davis and Garfield).

gloria estefan said...

Grace, I completely understand your point of view! One can only suffer for so long. If mony problems are a constant then the lure of selliing out is a big one. And is it selling out?

meghan

Julia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Julia said...

Hi Grace,

Maybe illustrating for things like take out boxes or soy sauce labels- could be seen as more outlets for your work, more places for your exposure and for your gift to be used to better something like a label, or for your art to be useful in a different way. You'd still be making your books, right? And even trying out new venues could bend and pull you stylistically in a way you hadn't thought of- even positively.

As long as you feel comfortable and feel you are staying true to your art making style, I'd say why not. I don't think it would diminish the integrity of your art, as long as you didn't let it.

The idea of "selling out" is an interesting one, I think it just comes down to remaining honest in all venues of art making...

Chris Barton said...

Keep in mind that it's mighty easy for me to look down on selling out -- and to consider its impacts on the environment (with regard to gigatons of plastic Shreks) ahead of its benefits to my finances -- when I've yet to be given the opportunity to sell out...

As for Kikkoman labels and take-out boxes: Those things will exist regardless of whether your art is on them. The environmental impact of prettying them up (and getting more exposure for your books) is nil. Go for it, I say.

Don Tate II said...

I could see LISSY and her friends as a Saturday morning cartoon series. I mean, there's nothing like it out there -- in terms of Asian characters. There's Dora (Hispanic). Little Bill (African American). And plenty of Caucasians. But I can't think of a cartoon starring an Asian child. Go for it!

web said...

I would be far more concerned about seeing Kikkoman bottles prominently featured in your illustrations...

Grace Lin said...

Thanks everyone for your comments. I was thinking more along trying to get products to advertise my books, not having them hire me to create new labels or some such--though that would be great, just think it's a long shot. Of course, having them advertise my books is also a long shot! Sadly, I probably can't "sell out" even if I wanted to!!

Don, an Asian cartoon would be awesome. I don't know why there isn't one. There is Sagwa the cat, but I've always found that a little insulting. Sagwa in Chinese means stupid or idiot--it's not a nice term at all. I'm not sure what the creators were trying to say!

Courtney said...

Hi Grace,

I think there have been some wonderfl comments made here and I wanted to add that you should talk to Dan Santant. He has a cartoon show on Disney and is an illustrator. (and you might even know him) Maybe he could give you some tips on the steps to get a show featuring your characters on tv.

Good Luck with everything!

P.S. I will never look at Sagwa the same way again.

Rita said...

Aww, I totally like Sagwa!! And my understanding of the word has always been more "silly" than "stupid." I hear people say it deprecatingly but affectionately when their friends and family members are doing goofy/silly/"idiotic" behaviors--the way one might roll their eyes and say "dork." Head full of nonsense.

Granted, I've also puzzled over why Sagwa never actually exhibited these behaviors, given the name...

I like everyone's comments here, by the way. Insightful!! You guys helped me put into words a view I hadn't articulated for myself yet.

So long as the quality of the work itself remains, merchandising is cool! And publicity is good. Go for it! :)

r

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