For this week’s creator spotlight, we would like you to meet maker Cam Porter!
What was the inspiration behind becoming a creator? What do you enjoy most about the creative process?
I have been an artist all my life. However, I did not start an artistic career until I was in my late twenties. I had a twenty-year career in the animation industry as an animator and illustrator, having never been to art school. Life took me in a different direction and I went to university to get an art degree. It was then I discovered that I really enjoyed working with wood, especially the lathe. I find it exciting to create new things out of wood. I turned a lot of bowls when I was first learning how to use the lathe, but now that I have grown as an artist, my main focus is on artistic pieces. I am much more motivated to create something new than make the same thing repeatedly. When I was learning how to work with wood, I watched a lot of YouTube videos. Many of the videos were poor quality, yet some of the creators had tens of thousands of subscribers. I thought, maybe arrogantly, that surely I could do better than that. I already had experience editing short videos that I would share with friends and family. My goal has been toÊinspire people to try new things and create art for themselves.
Can you take us through your creative process? How long does it take? Does everything you produce make money?
Every piece starts with a concept, whether it be my own, or an idea from a patron commissioning a piece. I like to try things I have not done before. Sometimes my ideas are simply based on the materials I have available. Most of the things I create, I am making it for the first time. I often create off-the-cuff and make it up as I go along, based on a concept I have in mind. How long it takes me really depends on what I am making. I have made plenty of things that only took me one day. I have made plenty of things that took me a week or more. I am a full-time studio artist and content creator. The goal is to sell the art I make. I have sold lots of artwork, and I have a lot that’s still for sale. Unfortunately, I am not at the point yet that I can exclusively make a living from my art alone. I make a very meager amount of revenue from my YouTube channel. The videos are part of the process. I enjoy making the videos and sharing how I make things. I rarely spend more than a few hours editing a video.
What do you think is the biggest misconception about your line of work?
Some people seem to think that selling art is easy. I get a lot of praise for my work, which is wonderful. I am so appreciative of the people that love art and what I do. Alas, getting people to open their wallets is the biggest challenge. People see that I have 90K followers on Instagram and think I must be some kind of superstar, selling everything I make. I am just a regular guy trying to make it, like everyone else.
When did you first become aware of copyright, and why?
Having a twenty-year career in a field that values intellectual property makes you inherently aware of copyright issues.
Have you experienced copyright infringement and, if so, how has it affected you personally and financially?
Yes, I have experienced extensive copyright infringement. Many profiles share my content without permission on a daily basis. However, I do give permission to many Facebook pages to share my content, as I am trying to get my name out there. I am okay with people sharing my content as long as they link back to my social media presence. The exception is YouTube, because YouTube auto-detects copyright violators and I can request take-down notices. Facebook does that as well, but I do not post my videos to Facebook. I attempt to drive traffic to my YouTube channel, as I can make ad revenue there. I believe copyright infringement has not affected me financially, as the goal is to sell my original art. I use social media to promote my work. The more eyes on my work, the better, as it increases the chances of selling it.
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