NEW YORK (MainStreet) —Although Kerri Gibbs is an award-winning painter who even appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman to paint portraits of Letterman and Oprah Winfrey, she joined a 12-step program known as Underearners Anonymous because she isn’t getting paid what she deserves.
“There are a lot of traditional portrait artists who earn a really good living, asking two, three and even four times as much as I do,” said Gibbs, whose full-body child portraits sell for $10,500 a piece. “I don’t charge more, because I fear I will price [my clients] out even though my work is worth double the price.”
Originally from Australia, Gibbs worked ten-hour days in Melbourne first as a freelance photo retoucher in the advertising industry before moving to New York to work in publishing and now portraiture.
“Despite my success, my income was dropping, and I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t earning enough despite my god given talent that everyone recognizes," she said. "Underearners Anonymous is my last stop.”
Founded on October 16, 2005 with 18 members in a church in Nyack, NY the organization has gone global with presence in 32 cities and countries, including Israel, the U.K. and Iceland.
At a meeting on a recent Thursday night at the Realization Center in the Union Square area of Manhattan, a group of 20 men and women sat in chairs making up a circle. Members talked of being trapped in an “underearning continuum”, the “collective underearning” in the world and “prosperity as a consciousness” that can be attained through 12-step work.