Commissions and Commercialism: How One Artist Views Custom Work
People always want to know how I’m able to do commissioned artwork, which is a work produced in response to an order.
“Aren’t you selling out to commercialism?” they ask. Actually … no. There is a misconception that artists are too sensitive to have others direct their work. I am happy to draw for people. It brings joy into their lives to create a personal piece of art, and it is a pleasure to be part of the process.
Sometimes, I wonder why someone wants a drawing or painting when the scene has been recorded in a photo. Occasionally, I even ask customers that very question. Often, the answer is that they simply prefer a graphite drawing to a photo.
But I believe there is a deeper reason. The nitty-gritty truth is that real life is messy. I get to clean it up with my pencil—a much more satisfying tool than a vacuum. I prune trees, move rocks, cause shrubs to grow, eliminate trashcans and power poles, soften age lines, move hair out of people’s eyes, smooth wrinkles out of clothing and even scoot siblings closer together.
These tricks present the best of what we remember about life, and sometimes just portray what we wish were the truth. I am serving the customer by illustrating their dream of reality or freezing one of their best memories in a frame.
Commercialism is defined as “derogatory practices and attitudes that are concerned with the making of profit at the expense of quality.” That’s not in any way what I do. Like Dave and his team, I offer hope. And that, whether free or for a fee, never goes out of style.