Non-Artist Perceptions of Comic Artist Identity

EDIT 7/14/2020: Numbers revised from initial post after error found in some calculations. As a quick follow up to my 2020 Comic Artist Survey, which investigated the comic artist identity and relationship with nonprofit organizations (NPOs), I surveyed a small group (49) of non-artists asking them to estimate how the artists responded. The respondents come in part from my personal social media network and in part from some outreach efforts taken on my behalf by SOLRAD editor Daniel Elkin.

This is actually a fairly difficult task; putting it in a pop culture context, think about the difficulty contestants on survey based game shows like Family Feud or Card Sharks have in estimating answers. Those shows exploit the contestant's tendencies to rely on cultural stereotypes and assumptions based on anecdotal experiences to create a dynamic game. In my coming essay about the 2020 Comic Artist Survey I will use the non-artist survey to illustrate how those same cultural stereotypes and anecdotal biases exist for comic artists and present issues for the artists, activists, advocates and comic arts NPOs in creating positive social change.

The difficulty of the task is evident in generally low scores if the survey is graded as a test. The average score of respondents was 13.67 correct answers out of 37, or around 37% accuracy. The lowest score was 3 and the highest was 21. There are some interesting variations of average scores when broken out by some of the questions I asked to differentiate stakeholders, which I will address in the longer essay.

The bias of cultural stereotypes and anecdotal experience responses are more evident when examining what questions respondents have the highest rates of being correct as compared to the questions where the responses are overestimated and underestimated.

The majority of respondents had an accurate view the number of artists who live off of savings, student loans and/or receive royalties for their work (very few). Overall respondents tended to underestimate resources that artists have at their command in terms of employment as well as how many artists see a path to their artistic aspirations. Respondents tended to overestimate artist need for services and individual desired values.

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