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Man tells 8-year-old niece 'your art is bad' parents call him a gatekeeper, asks AITA?

Man tells 8-year-old niece 'your art is bad' parents call him a gatekeeper, asks AITA?


An adult artist says his niece's art is bad, and it isn't his responsibility to help her.

aita37465437165 writes:

I am an artist. The majority of my income is tabling at conventions like Comiccon. I work hard, not to toot my own horn, but I'm skilled and invested a lot of time and money, and that rewards me with a good income and a cool job.

My niece is starting to draw, mostly anime characters. She has an iPad and a program I use because she wants to be like me, and that's cool. Not to be a d%ck, but she's... learning.

Don't get me wrong, she is better than most kids her age, and practice will help. I'm excited to see her improve as she's only been doing it a few months, but it's... lacking right now. I would think it wasn't good if I did not know her.

'She's a kid, that's mean' - unfortunately, it's relevant. The scene is a big convention, my biggest money-maker, highest-stress event on my calendar: long days, long weekends, high-cost, high reward.

My niece loves anime, so the family is going to. The week before I get a call, they've made prints of my niece's art and want to put them on my table. I said they could have a little space.

On 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, so people blocked my table.

On 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 my niece.

I was stressed and tired, ashamed I barely stood up for myself; every time I tried, I was told off. I had a panic attack all Saturday as my aunt and uncle grabbed away potential customers.

On day three, they left, and my niece was overwhelmed (her parents were mad at me). Day three was slow, but I made the most money, so yeah, glad they weren't there. Usually, I make three months' rent at this con because foot traffic and hype were high. I barely broke even.

They want to bring her to the next one and take more table space and merch. She sold a dozen prints, and I'm proud of her for that, but events can cost thousands, and 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, and it's good enough to sell. They said she needed me, as she wouldn't be accepted if she applied to cons herself; I said there was a reason for that. It was mean but also literally true. This is my job; I won't compromise it.

She could do art fairs, more straightforward stuff. I offered to take her to small events, but that enraged them (how dare I gatekeep).

I'm not her ticket to fame and fortune. They bring up my follower count and think I should leverage it for her benefit, too, but that puts a significant dip in my engagement. Family thinks I'm an a%#hole, am I?

Here are the top comments from the post:'

sephyir says:

NTA (Not the A$%hole), 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.

RoyallyOakie says:

NTA it's your income. If you can't survive, you're no inspiration to anyone. Let them set up and pay for her own table and experience the boring side of the industry.

madogvelkor says:

NTA. If they push her into big events like that and make her life revolve around art they risk making her lose interest and enjoyment in it. They sound like dance/sports parents but with art.

Do you think OP was right to say that about his nieces art, or was there a more delicate way to go about this situation?

Sources: Reddit
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