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Artist Irate After Family Members Hijack Her Comic Convention Table To Hawk Her Niece’s Artwork

A young girl draws on a tablet with a digital pen in her living room

Being an artist is a great passion.

It can be just a hobby for some.

But it is also a way of life and a very serious career for many.

That last part seems to get lost in translation a lot.

(A big reason for all of the strikes right now!) 

Serious artists bust their butts preparing for and executing their next gig.

So when that work is belittled or stolen from, feelings can get hurt, and anger is unleashed.

Case in point…

Redditor aita37465437165 wanted to discuss their experience and get some feedback. So naturally, they came to visit the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit.

They asked:

“AITA for telling the parents of my 8-year-old niece that her art is less important than mine?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“I am an artist.”

“The majority of my income is tabling at conventions like Comic con.”

“I work hard, not to toot my own horn, but I’m skilled and have invested a lot of time and money, and that rewards me with a good income and cool job.”

“My niece is starting to draw, mostly anime characters.”

“She has an iPad and program I use because she wants to ‘be like me,’ and that’s cool.”

“I originally explained here that she’s not great at art yet (she only started a few months ago).”

“Family kept telling me she’s Mozart, and I was frustrated, so I was tactless about how I worded it.”

“She’s going to be amazing, and I’m encouraging her to practice.”

“Scene: Big convention, my biggest money-maker, highest-stress event in my calendar.”

“Long days, long weekend, high cost, high reward.”

“Niece loves anime, so the family is going too.”

“Week before I get a call, they’ve made prints of niece’s art and want to put them on my table.”

“I said they could have a little space.”

“Day one, they left her with me to be a ‘little helper.'”

“She stood in front of my table, directing people to her prints.”

“I lost a lot of sales.”

“People wanted to look at her art and coo at the adorable child, but that resulted in people blocking my table.”

“Day two, I said I wouldn’t babysit. I had a table to run.”

“Her parents stayed, much worse.”

“They blocked the table and accosted anyone who came up, interrupting people buying from me to talk about niece.”

“I was stressed and tired, I’m ashamed I barely stood up for myself. Every time I tried, I was told off.”

“I had a panic attack all Saturday as potential customers were grabbed away by my aunt and uncle.”

“Day three they left, niece overwhelmed (her parents mad at me).”

“Day three is slow but made the most money, so yeah, glad they weren’t there.”

“Usually, I make three months’ rent at this con. Footfall and hype were high.”

“I barely broke even.”

“They want to bring her to the next one, take more table space, more merch.”

“She sold a dozen prints, I’m proud of her for that, but events can cost thousands. I can’t afford to finance her.”

“I put my foot down.”

“If this was another job, you couldn’t force a ‘take your niece to work day,’ but because art is a ‘hobby,’ they’ve pushed the boundary.”

“They argue I should be a role model.”

“I’m jealous of the attention.”

“I’m afraid of the ‘competition.'”

“I’m selfish for thinking I’m better etc.”

“I got angry and said yes, my art is better.”

“It’s my income. It’s good enough to sell.”

“They said she needs me, as she wouldn’t be accepted if she applied to cons herself. I said there’s a reason for that.”

“It was mean… but also literally true?”

“This is my job, I won’t compromise it.”

“‘So get a real job.'”

“She could do art fairs, easier stuff.”

“I offered to take her to small events, but that enraged them (how dare I gatekeep).”

“I’m not her parents’ ticket to her fame and fortune.”

“They bring up my follower count and think I should leverage it for her benefit too, but that puts a major dip in my engagement.”


Redditors shared their thoughts on this matter and weighed some options to the question AITA:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Many Redditors declared OP was NOT the A**hole.

“NTA, obviously, supporting your niece is nice, but your livelihood is more important.”

“I do hope you didn’t say all that in front of her, though.” ~ sephyir

“I work in sales, and I was thinking the same thing.”

“I love my bird, and my boss loves my bird, but there’s a reason he stays in a different room when I’m on the phone with prospects.”

“He can come hang out for team meetings where I’m mostly on mute as long as he’s kinda quiet and helps with admin stuff when it’s just me and him.”

“Sure, an 8-year-old is a tad different from a bird in that the 8-year-old eventually wants to grow up and do a version of OP’s job.”

“But they’re similar in that they’re both loved family members who we enjoy the company of, and still need healthy boundaries to protect our income streams.” ~ joseph_wolfstar

“Bring your kid to work day… and insist that she be allowed to install the hip replacement hardware because she’s played Operation before while telling the Chief of Surgery how she should really be in charge.”

“It is deeply, deeply insulting to OP and every working artist everywhere.”

“OP was wildly, unnecessarily generous to offer to take the kid to smaller shows after that expensive trainwreck, and turning that down just twists the dagger that her parents are eagerly and forcefully stabbing into OP.”

“I’d retract that offer, tell the parents to get bent, and share the financial loss info with any family member who has the audacity to contribute their worthless two cents in the conversation.”

“‘Yeah, so, she ‘sold’ a handful of prints to people who pitied her for $x, at a table that cost $y, and my usual revenue was $z.'”

“‘Do you want to pay me for that loss at the next one, or just buy one of her ‘pieces’ and tell her to spend that weekend at home, creating a free website for her stuff or just practicing more, which she desperately needs and would ACTUALLY be a good investment in her future?'” ~ Freakishly_Tall

“Tell them she’s welcome along provided they cover any and all lost income as a result, and use previous years to come up with a fair figure.”

“Put it in writing, a legal contract they have to sign.”

“Once they realize that her art might cost them thousands of dollars (like it’s costing you in losses), they might be a little more reasonable about having your niece tag along to your biggest conferences.”

“You’ve been super nice and very supportive, but definitely your livelihood is more important than an 8-year-old’s hobby/learning art.”

“It’s literally your job that they are affecting here! NTA.” ~ Odd-Phrase5808

“They cost OP 3 months’ rent.”

“The whole family needs to know that OP lost 3 MONTHS’ RENT because of their selfishness.”

“It’s not the kid’s fault, and if she sold a dozen prints, she is legit talented, but her parents had no right to push OP’s customers away. Deliberately.”

“The lack of respect is galling.” ~ Notte_di_nerezza

“OP needs to explain it in those terms.”

“The family doesn’t understand that.”

“I suspect they think it’s more like a bake sale rather than a job, from their perspective.”

“I could be wrong, but most people do not understand freelance work if they always did W2 work.” ~ ExcitingTabletop

“Let them know that when they’re willing to pay your rent for three months, you’ll let your niece share your table at events.”

“And ask when they’re going children who share their interests go to work with them and share in their salary. NTA.”  ~ SimmingPanda

“This is nuts!”

“You’re NTA, and I probably would stop trying to convince them.”

“Though I gather they’re not the only members of your family in the pile-on.”

“What they don’t understand is not just that you make money from this, but that you are AT WORK.”

“It’s like if you were a chef and they wanted you to also dedicate your restaurant to your niece’s EZ Bake Oven goods.”

“It doesn’t mean you don’t think she has potential or value it, but it is not an appropriate thing to happen in the professional environment.”

“Is there anything you can say/leverage/slightly fib about around the other entities at conventions that might help?”

“Concerns about professionalism or the nature of booths or differences between what’s advertised/expected and then what happens if it’s different?”

“If not, I’d give context to whoever you trust to listen, and if you can, reach out directly to your niece to offer art dates and mentoring and stop engaging with them.”

“Reasons are for reasonable people and they are not.” ~ Margenius

OP came back with more info…

“That’s a big fear, I didn’t say it in front of her, but the whole family is talking about so it I’m terrified she will hear, and it could really upset her.”

“Within a couple of hours of posting, one of those repost bots put it on Facebook with the title, ‘Man tells 8-year-old niece ‘your art is bad’ parents call him a gatekeeper, asks AITA?'”

“I’m not a man, and didn’t say it to the child) the family has seen it. Hellfire is raining down on me.”

“I brought up the money today more explicitly.”

“I broke down how much I earn at different events, comparing it to letting her tag along to a work meeting to put it in more obvious ‘this is a serious job’ terms.”

“Some little local event is like letting her come to work brunch. Letting her come to Comic con is like letting her sit in the review meeting for my promotion.”

“They called me a psychopath for putting money ahead of an innocent child and family.”

“Also ‘if little niece were in your promotion meeting, she’d double it because she’s so cute and lovely and sweet!!!)'”

“They fully interpreted “I make $X000 at this event, I can’t compromise that’ to mean “niece is unworthy of her 50% of $X000.'”

Well, OP, Reddit is with you.

This is an unfortunate situation.

You have every right to stand up for yourself.

Just like your family feels like they’re standing up for your niece.

There is no easy answer here.

Put yourself first.

Good luck with all your future sales.