At New Year 2015 I made a resolution to give Social Media a try and within three months I had received my first Twitter commission. Once the commission was finished, shipped and given I wanted to know a bit more about why someone on the far side of the world might decide to spend more than their usual budget on an artist they had never met and on an artwork that was essential sight-unseen apart from the photos I sent every few weeks.
So with very many thanks to my Commissioning Client for answering my questions.
I live and work in the UK. Would you share what part of the world you live in?
Of course! Ontario, Canada.
Do you usually spend money on artwork?
No, I'm mostly a walk-by shopper. I see a framed print in a shop window and think something like, "Oh that would look great in the office" and spend as little as possible. If it's over $50 CDN I usually just keep walking.
What about my artwork inspired you to do so now?
I went to your website after we followed each other on Twitter and your style simply spoke to me. I'd never seen reverse glass painting art before and loved the amount of depth the multiple layers of paint exhibited. I suddenly visualised an image in that style and thought how perfect it would be as a unique gift for my husband for Christmas.
Was this the first item you've commissioned?
What inspired you to commission this original artwork?
As I mentioned, it was to be a unique gift for my husband, and since I already had the image in mind in this style, I thought what better thing to do than to contact the artist to inquire about starting such a commission.
What was the scariest part of the project?
I wouldn't say anything was scary, I only ended up changing my mind about what I wanted after I put some more thought into it. I guess the only scary part would be that you had already drawn up some sketches for me based on the original idea and then I went and changed it entirely; I was afraid you might not have time to make new sketches and have it finished in time for Christmas.
What was the best part of the process?
I would say there was more than just one 'best part.'
Firstly, the fact that I was able to give you my idea with a rather crude photo-shopped layout of what I had put together and you were able to come back with a terrific draft sketch of your interpretation which was awesome.
Then, during the process, the updates of the artwork evolving, not to mention having the opportunity to give you any feedback I had and any additional input I might have.
And finally the end-product when I received it. Once I opened the box it took my breath away, it was simply beautiful.
Is there anything else you would like to say about the process?
I was amazed at how I felt like I was part of the artwork's creative process. I gave my husband a clue to his gift that it was something I helped design. And although it might be lost on him as to the amount of work that was put into it by you, I think it will still make him gasp once he realises the personal significance of the subjects in the piece.
The Artist's View
This project drew me in as it was a gift for a loved one, celebrating the romance of a generation that had gone before. I enjoy my painting time and it is very important for me to connect with a project both artistically and emotionally before I will accept any commission or start out on any new project. As I worked on this painting I felt the love story that was at its very centre radiating out from the butterfly and bumblebee - animal spirits for the light-hearted cigarette girl and the brawny boxer who courted her.
That said, I was also humbled by the faith the client put in me to deliver a special gift when she was essentially following a hunch, backed up only by my website.
As for timing, I like to give a long lead time for any work that I do as I never know what other obligations my family and life in general may throw up at short notice. This is especially true when I take on commissions as that time allows a work to develop organically, following the give and take needed for me to understand what it is that a client really wants and allowing me the time and space I need in order to bring it to life to my own satisfaction.
What pleased me most about this commission was that I was able to take my experiences of doing comissions for people I know face-to-face and translate it into a successful partnership with someone I had only met online, and despite the different time zones and long distances involved. By the end of the process I felt that I had gained a collaborator as much as a collector and this is mostly thanks to the availability of Direct Messaging which allowed me to send real-time photo updates on the process and to double check details as I went. Without a doubt, the conversations that kept the commission on course also kept the love that went into it's original idea alive with every brush stroke.