-By John Jude Palencar
Many times in your career you’ll have to make decisions that may effect your future or present financial course. Often it is a simple as deciding whether to take an assignment or what to charge for a particular illustration. You‘ll have to live with them and continue on despite any misgivings or “burned bridges”.
A few years ago I heard a story about Don Ivan Punchatz the illustrator. This story does serve to be an example of a potential career changing moment. Don was commissioned for a video game cover. The company was a new video game developer. They offered him the choice two types of payment… the first was payment by check (at a reduced fee) for the cover illustration and the 2nd type of payment was a small percentage of the video game’s profits. Don Ivan chose to be paid by check. Now you have to consider the video game market at that time. Most video games were not doing well and in fact Atari was on shaky financial ground and Nintendo was in it’s early stages of life. By the way the game was “Doom”. To Don’s credit , he chalked it up to experience and said “So how was I to know, this thing called Doom would make a jillion smackers?”. Don continued to have a fruitful and well established career until his death in 2009.
Fast forward to present day: David Choe is a graffiti artist living in Los Angeles. In 2005 when Facebook needed murals for their first headquarters David was contacted to produce a number of murals for their walls. I don’t know if he was offered a regular cash fee or made the decision to receive a stock option for payment. David received stock in the company….. Needless to say when the company finally goes public with it’s first IPO… David’s stock will be worth around $200 million. Not bad for a graffiti artist from Los Angeles.
Whether you choose to turn right or left in a decision always remember it is your creativity that got you there. Never regret any missed opportunities but continue on your journey toward creative nirvana.