Miguel Gutierrez's Strongly Worded Emails About Art and Money


Miguel is forty nine and for his entire adult life. He's been a professional artist. He's a musician. Whose played in a few bands and has a project called sad. Donna where he sings madonna songs. But in a sad way. But miguel is best known for his work as a choreographer and dancer and has received some of the fields highest honors and like many people working in creative industries. He's lost a lot of work and income this year. A report from the brookings institution found that fine arts and the performing arts have been particularly hard hit overall two point. Three million jobs and seventy four billion dollars. An average monthly earnings were lost in the creative fields between april and july of this year and while miguel was less concerned about not being on stage during the pandemic he was concerned about how he'd get paid. The first thing i noticed was all the cancellation emails and their complete lack of acknowledgment. A financial component to the interaction or the transaction. That was like you know winding us. And and and i just. I read actually with anger those emails from like dance festivals and venues or their venues. Were my work is just one area. So i was a variety of kinds of work. You know and what i do. Teaching at forming and kind of across the board you know these cancellation emails. Were coming in And all with the exception of one Made no mention of the loss of income. What did they say. If they didn't mention money they were like. Oh you know as you can understand the decisions change. We have to you know those. The season early are we won't be able to do the festival or yada. We're so sorry about this. You know we look forward to talking to you again. Soon or wishes best right now. It was very kind of like formulaic cordial thing and you know some of these institutions were people. I've been talking to for months. Some you know. Some of them were institutions. I'd known for years Or had worked for years. Did you respond and say can we talk about the money. yes like. I like a kind of like strongly worded email. And then i also that i wrote this instagram. Iran's by kind of went off you know Like what the heck's going on here. I have it in front of me. This particular post. It's an all caps short-term work is my work my bills are not being postponed and my food isn't free hashtag gig economy hashtag pay independent artists hashtag honor commitments hashtag not disposable hashtag. I'm in your budget girls. Johnny cash that. I loved it in the moment. I was just like it was. I think this came out the weaker. Everything was shut down and it was like. Oh my gosh what is happening to creative people who are living gig gicc you know like like even though i'm doing pretty well i mean i've done very well in this field. I'm very very fortunate. But i'm still going gang. You know and and and i have no job security. I'm still completely at the whim of weather. Presenter or festival wants to hire me here are not and and and so you know the there is You're always stitching together your income in this profession. And you know you're you're using april to pay for. May you're using june to pay for your. It's like you know if it would be one thing. If i hadn't had those commitments right like yeah i would have had to just figure it out. But given that there were these things lined up And i and i think it's one of the things that is so confusing to me about this field. Because there's this kind of purported friendliness in this kind of like you know we're all in this for the my for the love of it you know we're all in this for the you know the beauty and the love of art in the belief in the hub and it's like and it's like yod pincushions push comes to. I'm also in it to get paid like this is my work. I felt i. These were strongly worded emails. I follow really like clear that i had to send this message. And then of course. All of the people were like. Oh oh yes of course. Of course you know really yeah. Sure said to her. Wow then they wrote me back into the okay. Well let's We're we're going to have a meeting. you know. Suddenly it was like this like save your ass hiring a response. I was like no. This is where you should have started. This should not be like it is not my job as the person that you've contracted to hold your feet to the fire on such a basic aspect of our commitment to each other and and then the other thing i would say that i noticed right away was also how many sort of like i like. Individual artists were setting up like relief funds And then of course foundations as well or were suddenly coming up with these kinds of relief funds in and and i had very mixed feelings about i mean i applied for all for. Just let's be honest hustler. And i'll dig the money where i can get it but I felt frustrated like the people who are the most vulnerable. You know Contribute the most to their own ongoing survival. And i just. It makes me so angry that that that we have to immediately

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