Ethics is a very complicated subject and goes to the core of what makes someone who they are. We live in a very complicated time and a technological time where it’s very easy to cheat, to push things off onto another, or to just outright lie. It is hard to talk about ethics for myself without considering age old questions of character like this:
“Would you steal bread to feed your starving family?”
To me this is the core of what ethics is based around, hard questions that necessarily don’t have a right answer. Depending on your surroundings and the context in which you would have to steal or do something even worse to protect your family is what defines your character when considering something like this.
In the work place the word ethics gets thrown around quite a bit and when you are an artist and as a person you need to be ethical and trustworthy in order to truly be a part of a company. Why does it matter if you’re an ethical artist? Who cares? I realize that you and I are just the jockeys that make the concept art into 3D and then color it but we’re dealing with intellectual property that could be worth millions if leaked. As an artist dealing with intellectual property you must have the integrity to respect that you are dealing with someone else’s ideas that they hope to profit from. It isn’t your information to just hand out, to brag about to others and to post on the internet without proper consent.
As an artist dealing with someone else’s intellectual property we already decided you must have integrity but you also must have an enormous amount of temperance. Clients you work for will ask for complete 180’s on projects that you poured your heart and soul into without flinching one bit. They will ask for more and more without thinking about it and if you want to retain your clout you’ve created for yourself you must treat everyone with respect 100% of the time. Self-control can’t be made to seem important enough to do it justice when working with someone’s intellectual property. You at all times must be positive in nature and always just push forward and accept that you aren’t the one dictating if something is good or not, you are just a conduit for their ideas to become reality.
When I interned at Fisher Price 6 years ago I did respect their intellectual property, I realized what was at stake for myself and them if their ideas got out. I however didn’t have enough self-control and was resistant to change involving their intellectual property. Part of me now realizes that I was resistant because I didn’t know enough to work quickly and change things on the fly but that’s water under the bridge now. Another part of me realizes that I was just a cocky 21 year old who knew it all.
Times change and I’m a lot more humble now and I try to also take my emotions out of the equation when dealing with clients and my artwork. What’s that, a client wants a change? Sure! Why not! This week a client has honestly already asked for 3 completely different models for a project and now the third looks almost like the first! This would have sent me into a downward spiral in which I probably wouldn’t escape 5 years ago. Complete 180’s in projects are a common thing for me now and I really don’t mind them, it’s just more time it takes for their company to get out the work, I get paid all the same.
I’m not really sure what I want to improve on as far as ethics are concerned but I’m sure after a while yet another weak spot in my artist armor will show and I’ll have to find a way to patch it up and push forward. I’m going to be starting a job search in 2.5 months so I’m sure at that point I’ll be picked apart by companies and colleagues.
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