When I got the opportunity to paint my first custom piece of artwork, I was nervous. My process for so long had been very personal and I’d never considered someone else’s interpretation. In a way I felt that painting something specific for someone took away from the organic experience of creating that I’d become accustomed to and I feared that it would make me a fraud. A fake artist, trying to please others. That is what I felt in my core. I believed that doing a commission would ruin the purity of expression. It sounds silly because I think there is this perception that everything is made to be consumed in our culture (especially art), but I’d never considered it until people started to reach out and inquire about purchasing.
Maybe in the beginning I was just scared. For too long I was overly insecure about my work (ability) and that held me back from considering selling anything I made. Who would even want them?
Finally, I had to confront this hurdle and climb over it (if only I could jump) because I loved the idea of creating for someone other than myself. The next step was to create something meaningful and true to myself, while simultaneously meeting the needs and desires of my customers. How would I avoid feeling like an art fraud?
Trusting my gut instincts and riding out my chaotic waves of emotion.
I've created a system now that seems to be bulletproof when it comes to painting for someone else.
To get the seed of inspiration going, I now always fall back on feelings.
1. What do you want to feel when you look at your painting?
2. What emotion(s) do you want it to exude?
3. What colours do you want to represent these feelings?
4. What colour(s) do you despise?
5. What quote or adjective(s) do you want the painting to symbolize?
Seemingly simple questions to guide a not so straightforward painting process.
Commission painting is a practice in patience, empathy, and understanding. Every customer is seeking something different, and in that I’ve felt incredible pride knowing that I am trusted in helping them realize this abstract emotion. It is such a gift and nothing feels better than delivering the painting (usually in person) and seeing their reactions. It's like Christmas day in a way. Watching someone open a gift you've put so much effort and thought into.
Abstracts are unpredictable and so I had to find the few ingredients that seemed to have been consistent in my personal artistic expressions to make each work feel authentic rather than contrived.
The formula is reliable and the results, well, I haven’t messed up yet (paint brushes crossed).