How does Payback help charities and artists? - A blog by Garry Hunter, Founder of Fitzrovia Noir

    Fitzrovia Noir celebrated 15 years in 2023, always collaborative, often over-ambitious, but guaranteed to break new ground by invigorating long empty buildings and getting visual art out of the gallery and into the community.  

    Co-founder Garry Hunter explains their rationale. 

    When I was a full-time photographer, I heard about Payback from a friend and started claiming in 2004. I didn’t know I could be paid for use of my work through collective royalties and I had a big catalogue of images used in books and magazines going back to 1982. I then told every visual artist I knew about the scheme, but many misunderstood that they would be giving up their copyright, others just not getting around to claiming. My advice to all visual artists thinking of applying for Payback is to prioritise it - every year - and don’t put it off. 
    Once Fitzrovia Noir was incorporated as a CIC in 2011, I realised that if I didn’t help other artists I was working with make a claim, they never would. We work together and our images are often reproduced in the same publications or appear together on the same TV news item, so this really simplifies the process. As creative director, I commission graphic designers, film makers and artists, overseeing the production and monitoring the outputs to ensure everything is of the best quality. We’ve supported emerging photographers such as Jonathan Turner, whose practice Fitzrovia Noir has continuously backed for more than 15 years, commissioning the artist to make new work, featuring his work in our publications and raising his creative profile.  
    Considering my decades as a photographer across various industries, I’d say Fitzrovia Noir is run as a hybrid of a touring rock band and an advertising agency, taking best practice learned there - planning, strategy and artist development - as successful knowledge transfer.

    Payback really does give our artists a boost, in that their work is being recognised as well as financially rewarded. Our members are facing huge challenges as creators, issues that Berlin-based think-tank CIRCE are exploring with their London Lab at City University. I am involved in their research that asks how have artists navigated the ABC - Austerity Brexit Covid - of the last 13+ years. Findings will not just be disseminated academically but also act as a toolbox and guide for survival of organisations like ours and individual creative practitioners. Arts grants are becoming more difficult to secure from established sources, so we are increasingly collaborating with independent trusts, private collections and others that need some imagination to convince.  

    International exchanges are very important for us, we’ve worked from New Zealand to Venezuela and hosted artists from Brazil to Hong Kong in sites as diverse as a 13th Century château and a 200-year-old Tyneside pithead. Our most recent commission is a double portrait by French photorealist Zabou and spray paint pointillist Jimmy C, on a 10m square wall in Poplar, supported by the GLA’s Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm. 

    About Garry Hunter / Fitzrovia Noir

    Established in 2011, Fitzrovia Noir has been committed to activities which broaden access to the arts, working with many groups and engaging a wide range of residents in neglected neighbourhoods across London and North East England.
    Twitter: @FitzroviaNoir
    Instagram: fitzrovianoir_
    About Payback
    Has your work been published in a book, magazine or on TV? If so, you might be eligible for Payback royalties, in addition to other copyright royalties you may have already received. That's because Payback covers secondary uses of your images, such as photocopying. Every year we collect a share of royalties which we pay to eligible artists who've signed up to the scheme. It’s worth it - thousands of artists claiming in 2023 received a share of £5.6 million with individual payments of up to £370 for books and magazines and up to £2000 when also claiming for TV. 
    Find out more 

    Image credit: Doralba Picerno, shows Jimmy C and Zabou by their mural of Queenie Watts and Francis Bacon on Dee Street in Poplar

    Posted on 24/01/2024 by Vanessa Giorgo