So I ran across a black and grey portrait that was done by Robert Pho, and in turn I ended up throwing on a track by Miles Davis – a track which subsequently influenced this post. With the volume up and the coffee brewing, the tracks smooth and rhythmic melody brought me to a peaceful place – while the songs name, “Freddie Freeloader”, made me bust a smirk because of all the f*cked up memories and people it can relate to. (read on and you’ll find out why)
As artists, we all have our opinions and criticisms. Whether it be about technique, subject matter, tools of the trade, or simply art, the opinions we form can be relevant, ignorant, arrogant and sometimes downright argumentative. But for the most part, our opinions help ignite creativity and bring us closer together. On the other hand, the one thing I’m sure we can all agree on is the fact we all started in this industry in the same place: The very bottom.
Regardless if you tattoo, paint, draw or even write, we spend countless amounts of hours honing our craft, mastering our techniques and building our books/ portfolios. In the beginning, the encouragement we receive from friends comes deep and plenty, but ask someone to let you take a pass at their skin and the confidence and hoorah soon diminishes. But as time progresses -as does your skill – you soon create a following, and a book of business. It’s a natural progression that happens as a result of experience, confidence and improved techniques and in short, it’s a part of surviving. But along with that exponential growth comes an increase in what you can charge for the work you do.
[ot-video][/ot-video] Freddie Freeloader by Miles Davis.
Soon after you raise your rates, comes a somewhat awkward moment where you have to announce the price hike. It’s at that moment that you realize that most old clients along with new clients don’t mind at all. Sure you hook up some of the regulars at discounted rates (as a way of thanking them for their loyalty), but what about the ones that still want your rates from when you were first practicing 15 years ago? Or how about the ones that want it for free? You know what I’m talking about! C’mon now….and if you don’t have a clue about what I’m talking about then soon enough you will. These are those folks that are classified as “Freddie Freeloaders” or “Captain Mooch.”
If you still don’t know what I’m talking about then listen carefully for anyone that uses typical key phrases such as….
“C’mon homie. Hook it up. I’ve been down since day one!”
“You got a cancellation? Yo..hit up my arm really quick with a small piece!”
and once they find out about your new rates, you’ll get the proverbial….
“Oh! It’s like that now?! Glad I’m still getting the homie hookup right?”
“I know I’m not paying that. We boys. Right?”
At first you may entertain a few of the offers but soon enough they’ll pester you to a point where you can’t help but laugh – or kick them out of the shop. So are we here to tell you how to solve this problem? Absolutely not, it’s a problem that we will all encounter soon enough and a dilemma that’s handled differently by each of us. In the meantime, get your hours in, your skill set up and know your worth.
If you’ve figured out the perfect way to handle a Freddie Freeloader be sure to leave a comment.
So how did this track get its name? There are two sources which cite that the song was named after a friend of Davis. The friends name was Freddie, and he was known for trying to see the music Davis and others played without paying. The sources came from a documentary, Kind of Blue: Made in Heaven, and an anecdote from the jazz pianist Monty Alexander. The name may have also been inspired by Red Skelton’s most famous character, “Freddie the Freeloader” the hobo clown.