WHAT IS ‘EVIL TENDER’?
by Chris Jalufka
Numerous times the name of this site has come up in conversation. ‘Evil Tender. It just sounds so negative.’ True. As language is concerned, ‘Evil’ is a hard word. The epitome of negativity. The birth of the name can be explained, but first, imagine you have a skill — a talent. Let’s say drawing. You want to draw as a career. Ideally, you’d be paid to draw whatever you’d like. Live the life of a fine artist with gallery exhibits and personal collectors, but you also need to make money and earn a livable wage, so you work for an ad agency. A design firm. Instead of drawing what you want when you want, you are now responsible for creating imaging that will appear on cups in convenience stores to coincide with the release of a summer blockbuster. 7-Eleven needs those character branded cups for sodas and that task was placed on your desk.
Is this bad? No, not all. It’s great. A high profile job seen by millions and plus, that job needs to be done and it might as well be you. But, in the deep-black of your mind, you think, ‘I’m better than this.’
In music, if a band has a following and the size of that fan base warrants it, a major record label will release their next album and put them on a tour sponsored by Hawaiian Tropic brand sunscreen, and that original fan base will call them sell-outs. What they once stood for, to the fans, is now gone. They sold out their beliefs for money. In the visual arts that term doesn’t really exist — so I think of it as evil tender, the money you make from your craft, that legal tender, has been tainted through capitalism — it has become evil tender.
In Harold Ramis’ classic film Caddyshack, we follow high school senior Danny, a caddy at a golf course living with a family pushing him to go to college, yet unable to help him afford it. With no chance at college, he sells out his fellow caddies to caddy for Judge Smails, a mean-spirited judge who has a reputation for being a horrible golfer and worse, a horrible tipper. Our hero Danny accepts the job to caddy for Judge Smails hoping it can somehow get him in the judge’s good graces and maybe, just maybe, he can be offered a scholarship to college. On the golf course, Danny gets bold and drops a hint, mentioning to Judge Smails that he wants to go to law school but can’t afford it.
The Judge simply replies, ‘the world needs its ditch diggers.’
That statement is entirely true — we can’t all be famous. Powerful. Wealthy. Most of us perform simple tasks in exchange for money. Our work keeps the world running. Whether we wield a hammer, keyboard, or paintbrush — we all make our evil tender.
Chris Jalufka is a Bay Area based art writer focused on the world of design, illustration, and limited edition posters. His articles have appeared in HOW Magazine, Print Magazine, Content Magazine, Juxtapoz, and various sites along with his own venture, Evil Tender.
Evil Tender acts as cheerleader for working artists, those that create the visual world around us.
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