Even though the guitar for Waukesha Guitartown has taken up a lot of my recent time, there’s always time to work on other personal work and commissions.
The piece below was a commission . . . of sorts. I take limited commissions for a reason. I create a design based on someone’s wishes and then have to throw myself into it to hear my own voice. Sometimes my artistic voice tells me to change the commission in mid stream and that doesn’t always sit well with the client. Sometimes the client thinks their own voice should be louder in the piece than mine, and then all sorts of bad art develops. . . . . so I pick and choose my commissions very carefully.
Recently I was approached to do a commission to commemorate a couple’s 20th anniversary. They know and like my personal artwork and I’ve known this couple for years, so it wasn’t hard to start designing in my head. The extent of the commission contract was as follows: I would create a piece especially for them and their anniversary. I would NOT send a design, I would NOT give them design altering permission, I would NOT send work in progress photos, and I would not give them a time line. I would send the piece to them when it was done and if they loved it, they would pay me. If not, they would send it back and one of my galleries would surely show it. I did it this way so as not to lose my voice in what I felt was an important piece for both of us. I created it as a very personal piece, both for them and me. I think as a commission it has more meaning this way.
Creating this way made me do a lot of conscious thinking about the subject matter and choice of materials more than I would usually do while working. On an unconscious level this process takes place with all my pieces, but this brought all the unconscious method to the front of my brain. To be analyzed and codified, sharpened and culled, examined and discarded. It has proven to be a very powerful tool in my growth as an artist.
I have always said that my best pieces come THROUGH me, rather than FROM me, and this commission dropped a little speed bump in the “through” process. I’m still processing the lessons I learned from myself and my creation development. Why does “that” type of music mesh so well with my work? Why does this time of day seem so conducive to creation? Why does that color send me into a frenzy while that color leaves me flat? Why am I standing, sitting, hunching, bending, or twisting this way?
Lots to think about. And now I wait to see what they think of it.
(June 1 addition. They received it and loved it. They told me that other than their wedding ketubah, it is the most meaningful art they now own!)