I received a phone call the other day from a gentleman who is looking for someone to make a painting from a photograph. I told him I was interested, and we discussed the project briefly, working out a size for the piece (36x60 inches), and a price.
He phoned me yesterday, again and we agreed to meet today so he could give me the canvas, and a downpayment. Over the course of this second conversation, though, I realized that the project was quite a bit different than what I assumed after our first conversation.
It's not "his" photograph! It's a photograph he took, of a painting by a local artist hanging in a nearby gallery. The artist apparently quoted a much higher price than the man was interested in paying, to paint her image onto such a large canvas.
When I see him today, I'm going to turn the project down, and I'm going to tell him why. Just as I don't want another artist copying one of my paintings, simply so that someone can have (something that looks like) one of my paintings at a lower price than I am asking, I do not want my name associated with such a practice, either.
Sure, he will probably be able to easily find an artist who is willing to copy another artist's work. And if that artist can live with the knowledge that they've ripped off a fellow artist, that's their business.
I couldn't live with myself. I want people to respect my work, and that means I must respect others' work, as well.
Although I could really use the extra money right now, my reputation and self-esteem is worth far more!