Will Jenkins — AKA SimplisticPhobia — is tired of being lured into free work in exhange for “exposure.” And, now, he has the T-Shirt to express exactly how he feels.
A digital content creator working in photography and cinematography, SimplisticPhobia is one of the most sought-after creatives in Charlotte. His photography was featured in The Biscuit’s “Viewfinder” series earlier this year. As co-owner of @blkmrktclt and the founder of the Create Happy Project and Project Rough Cuts, he’s also hard at work on a book, a documentary and a solo exhibition in February 2020. He’s a busy man working at the top of his craft. So, working for potential glory of exposure & attention just won’t get it done.
This week, he unveiled a T-Shirt he designed to tell the world, “Fuck Exposure. Cash App Me. (Every Artist Ever).” Better still, he’s selling it for $20 online with the description:
“If you get tired of everyone telling you how they can help you and working with them is for free is for your own good let them know how you feel with the ‘Fuck Exposure’ T.”
That about says it all, but we asked him some follow-up questions anyway.
Q: Please tell us about some of your experiences where people have told you that you’d be working “for the exposure”?
There have been a lot of for exposure conversations throughout my career so far. I will sum up what most of the interactions like this come from.
In my professional career, I create a lot of commercial and promotional material for various brands and companies. I get a lot of requests from smaller “clothing brands” that are just printing a few shirts. I get a lot of stories from people about how their brand is going to change the world and how I should get on board and do all of this work for them and as they grow. They will tag me which “might” help bring me more business.
I will say I have chosen to work with certain people before to help my portfolio, but it made sense for both of us. In these cases, it’s someone who has nothing to offer to create synergy in the project. I can work with most budgets, but to offer me “exposure” when you are using me just for that one thing isn’t beneficial. The same also goes for some “bigger” brands that have just wanted to use new creatives and the promise of exposure to just take ideas for their own business. All creatives deserve to get paid for their work and ideas.
Q; When you hear “for the exposure,” how does that make you feel about your work?
Honestly, it doesn’t affect how I think about my work anymore. I know what my worth is now and I know what type of exposure I already have and understand that you found me because of my work.
Q: What do you want people to think or ask when they see your “Fuck Exposure” shirt?
I was prompted to make the shirt after a few things that happened — a series of DMs I received from someone and a conversation I was having right after with a few of my other artist friends. When people see the shirt, I really want people to have a connection to it. Anyone can look at my shirt and say this is exactly what I’m thinking.
Q: What reaction have you gotten thus far?
The response has been amazing; people love the shirt because it’s exactly what they have been thinking. It also sparks a lot of conversations about aggravation from all different types of artists. We all have stories of where someone belittles our work and we have to define that line of building relationships and portfolios with just doing free work.
Q: You’ve said, “My audience is going to be the people that are looking to dive into the art world and collecting but don’t have a lot to spend.” If you could change something about the consumer community in Charlotte — especially for original art — what would you do?
What I would change about the consumer community of art here is Charlotte is that supporting local artists can be more than monetary. Some people whom are interested in having an art collection but are not sure where to start don’t usually think of their local artist as having real art, and they tend to look outside to what’s generally popular or what they find at target. Through support of their shows, referrals and even taking that $200 you spent on some random mass produced piece of work and getting a piece that really speaks to what you like from a local artist you help put food on a creatives plate instead of exposure.
Q: We say “Charlotte Is Creative.” Do you believe that? Do you think the larger community does?
I know Charlotte is creative because of the people I meet everyday but I don’t think the larger community does. People love to say Charlotte has no culture and that’s because they aren’t investing in it.
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