Sainsbury’s Asked Artists for Free Work, So Artists Asked Sainsbury’s for Free Food

Great response to lingering problem

A Sainsbury's supermarket in England recently put out an ad seeing an "ambitious artist to voluntarily refurbish our canteen." But what they really need is a scotobiologist, since all they got in response was shade. 

Artists, you see, don't like being asked to work for free by companies that are more than able to pay them, and a number of them voiced their frustration on social media using the hashtag #PayArtists. 

Composer Paul Johnson Rogers, for example, said the chain "should be ashamed" for asking artists to essentially work for exposure. (The ad invited entrants to "bring their own style to transform … what is originally a basic canteen to salvage the energy of our staff members.") 

The Artists Information Company called it "ludicrous" and "misguided." As well they should; painting and decorating an employee break room, even a small one, is a fairly serious undertaking and requires a lot of planning and effort. Asking someone to do all that for free is insane. 

One anonymous artist also released a response ad seeking "a well-stocked supermarket to voluntarily restock our kitchens": 

Sainsbury's has since apologized for its cluelessness, and we're wondering if they have store artists the way American grocery chains like Whole Foods and Trader Joe's do. If not, they should look into it.