How do artists get paid?

Maggie from Magpie Goose and Kalumburu artist Karen Alberts going through licensing agreement 

Magpie Goose works with artists and art centres to feature designs through a variety of ways, and as such the way in which artist gets paid differs accordingly:

Purchasing fabric from an Art Centre

Magpie Goose sources some fabric direct from Aboriginal art centres. Some art centres print in community; some outsource the printing to Publisher Textiles in Sydney. In both cases the art centres manage the payments to artists, screenprinters, and other staff. There is no industry standard of how much an artist gets paid for textile production, and each art centre pays artists differently. Some pay a set price per metre printed, while some pay a percentage of the sale of the fabric per metre.

Working with independent artists

Magpie Goose also works with artists that do not have art centres in their community, or who do not have the support of an art centre (e.g. this could be a partnership with a solo artist, a women's centre or a youth organisation). Because there is no industry standard for how much an artist should get paid when their design is screen printed onto fabric, we spoke with a range of art centres and industry experts to inform our understanding, and establish a price that we believe is fair. Our price per metre takes into account the fact that we will print a significant amount of metres (at least 150m of any one design, and often up to 300 or 400m). 

We pay artists an initial license fee upon signing the contract; and then a set price per metre of fabric printed. This is all presented to the artist in a contract that has been provided to us by Arts Law. This 'Living In The Black' contract has been created specifically for people / organisations wanting to license artwork for screenprinting onto fabric, and this contract can be viewed and purchased online. We also encourage artists to seek independent advice before signing the licensing agreement.  

As we run more textile design workshops with independent artists and community organisations, we plan to work with VisCopy/Copyright Agency, an independent not-for-profit organisation that represents Australian artists in licensing negotiations. Where appropriate, we will assist artists that we work with to become members of Copyright Agency, and all commercial arrangements and payments will go through them.

Licensing designs from an Art Centre

Magpie Goose also licences designs from art centres who do not have screen printing capacity for large print runs. These designs might already exist (but require some modification / digitalisation for large screens), or might be created through a Magpie Goose workshop at the art centre. In this case Magpie Goose will pay the artist the upfront fee, and the set price per metre, but might also pay the Art Centre a set price per metre printed to cover the costs of previously running a workshop to come up with the designs. Or Magpie Goose will pay a total fee to the art centre, and the art centre will determine the payment to the artist. Where Magpie Goose has incurred the costs of the workshop and creating the print ready files the art centre or host organisation will not receive an additional fee. 

In some cases where there is an organisation that will create significant social impact, or an emerging art centre that requires additional support, Magpie Goose may decide to contribute an extra set price per metre printed. This is decided on a case by case basis, and presented to the art centre / community organisation before both parties commit to the partnership. 

Working towards an industry standard 

We think an industry standard for licensing a design to print onto fabric would be helpful so that there is a shared understanding across the sector. We support the development of a fair and transparent industry standard.

This is an excerpt from our FAQ page

- MG


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