Art Commissions, Synchronicity and the Zeitgeist
I recently finished a commission that really drove home the notion that there many forces at work, outside of the artist's studio, that makes a new series of paintings come into being.
Last summer, my family was finally able to see the Olympics on television, because NBC decided to put the whole thing on YouTube. Since we don't have cable or satellite and get all of our TV from the internet, previous Olympics telecasts were not accessible for us early adopters. After the Summer Olympics was over, I decided, on a whim, to record all of the YouTube footage of the interesting events to my hard drive for possible future use. It was no small task, and I wasn't sure if I would use the clips as painting reference, but some of the above-view action footage was hard to pass up, and I knew the videos would disappear soon, so I stayed up one night and captured the cycling, swimming and track and field events.
About a month or so later, I received an email from a new potential customer about possibly getting a price reduction on a painting of a runner in Paris that I had on display at Ugallery. After replying with a discounted price, I never heard anything from this new contact and figured that the party wasn't serious — I get these kind of inquiries all the time, and less than half turn into a sale. But, out of due diligence, I sent a second email a week later, just checking in and making sure that the email with the discount was received. Much to my surprise, this new potential collector responded almost immediately with a commission request.
The new client stated that while he and his wife were triathletes and liked the Paris Runner painting, they were wondering if I could do a painting of Tour de France Cyclists. The Olympics videos that I had captured immediately came to mind. I went through the quicktime video files and found the perfect reference shot of two cyclists on a track. Combining that image with an urban street background I got from the balcony of a hotel in Paris, I came up with the painting that you see below.
You see, I had intended to someday explore the idea of making these paintings, but had no immediate plans to do so, but these other factors, the Olympics events streaming on YouTube for the first time, this new collector finding me via Google search at just the right moment, played a big roll in creating a shift in my work, a sort of breakthrough to the next idea. Who knows how long it would have taken for me to get around to this new studio practice had I not been provoked to do so by the online world that has become so important to my art.
The finished painting: