One of the things I love about being an artist is when I get commissions from folks with a vision. Of course, I love the financial certainty of the situation but what I really love is the teamwork that goes into it.
Often people have an idea that artists want to create "their" masterpiece, that we want to just make art that speaks only of our soul or experience. But for me, the truth is much much different. I have a skill set that I have worked hard to develop my entire life but namely the last two years, and to be able to use it and translate someone else's ideas into art is one of the most enjoyable things I've experienced in this journey. And, when many minds come together, hilarious (and phenomenal) outcomes are possible! Like this pet portrait of a cat, riding bison across the Yellowstone, to escape magpies. I would never have made this on my own.
I might work on projects for hours at a time and talk to no one all day, alone in my studio. But when I'm working on commissions, I feel a real sense that there are other people involved, that "we" are doing it.
But more importantly, I find that they can challenge me in all the right ways. For example, when I did this mural for Neptune's Brewery, my personal style was, at the time, more restrained and technical. But, being in a brewery and everything, I knew for the piece I wanted to "loosen" up a little and get more "street" looking. It brought out a part of my art that has always been around, but that I hadn't played with in a while, and I was able to remember how much I love and am inspired by various contemporary street artists.
The other great thing about commissions is that they can push me to solve problems I may have never faced without the extra push. I'm not lazy by any means, but there are certain things I think we all avoid when we have just a little (subconscious) distaste for them. For example, I've known how to do perspective and use it in drawings and art since middle school. But because it is technical and time consuming, I have largely avoided using it too much in my recent work. Also, I haven't wanted to really focus and "relearn" the things I'd forgotten about it. However, a commission popped up that required quite a lot of perspective, and while I worked through the problems, I fell back in love with it and the effect it creates.
Anyhow, I'll end this blog with one other comment- I've been told before that to be a professional artist, you should dial in ONE style, One skill, etc, that the difference between an amateaur and a "pro" is consistency. But, personally, I really enjoy being able to be versatile and employ any of the skills I have at anytime without fear that it isn't "my style" or "signature". It OPENS DOORS! *snort*.