Monday, April 13, 2009

How do I create a commissioned piece and still add my personal message?


Assuming that you hve already discovered your artistic voice, how do you create a commissioned piece of art and add your message? This seems to be my biggest buggaboo in creating commission pieces. How do I create what the person wants while still maintaining my integrity as an artist?


The first thing that I have to remember is that the commissioner likes my work and likes my message before I even begin the piece of art - that's why they asked me to create it for them in the first place!

My message is that everything has a purpose: Everything is useful, everything has beauty and everything has sentiment. Perhaps I am taking a psychological approach to my art through my voice. As stated in Maslow's hierarchy of needs - everything has a desire to be needed. Everything as a desire to fit in.

Applying my message to a commission piece, takes time and much thought. My most recent commission was a "golf theme" painting. This was particularly hard, because I don't see the golf course the same way as someone who plays golf does. To me, the golf course is a dark, dreary place where balls are lost - never to be seen again. My husband, a golf enthusiast, sees the golf course as a magical place where men get together to be guys. It's sentimental to them.

After painting over the canvas several times, I was down to the wire on that painting. As a matter of fact, I delivered the painting still tacky from the master's mix. I had to make this painting of something so foreign to me reflect my voice. I had an opportunity to speak through this painting. I'm still not sure what I had to say with this painting, but I made a point to say it.

After searching for something... anything... that I could find some sort of attraction to, I found a picture of an antique golf club. It looked like a club that my husband keeps, which was his father's club. I painted a close-up of this club. To me, it was beautiful because it was old and had a story. I began painting this antique club.

After I finished my painting, I had to add pieces of me to it. I added nails, which I use on every piece of non-wearable art that I create. Nails represent the words of my father, which I feel quite confident he read in an email or something. The statement was "Words are like nails, you can remove the nail but the hole still remains." The words ring true. I added a nail for each time I cursed while creating that painting.

I also added some numbers. Why not? There are numbers on a golf course. These numbers were important because that's how many days I bitched and moaned about the how I was going to start the painting when I don't play golf.

The person who received my golf theme painting loved it; however, I was not as thrilled with it as I have been with other pieces.

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