Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue

No, I’m not getting married. I’m getting ready for my fourth solo show at Gallery I D. Luckily this does not have anything to do with marriage, because as a parallel this would be my fourth marriage and they do not usually work out. I am hoping this show is a success. The three previous shows have been received with much success and I would like to carry on with that tradition and the best way to describe the show is through a familiar tradition.

Something old: In the original context, this symbolizes continuity with the past. Keeping with tradition, I have filled the show with images of beautiful women. Considering it was the gallery owner that coached me into a subject I only dabbled in, through many conversations and a lot of resistance on my part, I found joy in painting skin tones and putting souls into eyes.

Something New: On this happy little artistic journey you can’t help but become excited about new ideas. The constant desire to make better art and explore the possibilities of composition, light… all that great stuff. My “something new” is a little bit of reflected color produced by reflected light. Be it from the side of the painting that is now painted and reflects onto the wall, or the color, painted on the back of the drawing that illuminates from behind an oil-stick drawing, it’s all new to me.

Something Borrowed: “Borrowed” assumes that you are giving it back and do not have the intention of keeping it, which would be considered stealing. For the show I borrowed images of photographs that contain harsh light, dramatic shadows, and sultry gazes. The glamour shots of the 1920‘s and 1930’s, with their film noir lighting, allowed me to explore the darks and lights while drawing with oil-sticks. My hope was to ignite a bit of resurgence in the genre that I borrowed from.

Something Blue: In the original context, blue symbolizes love and modesty. Here however, blue refers to how I blew my budget on these awesome white frames to frame my new, old, borrowed artwork.

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Rant...with Options

This Blog post isn’t supposed to be a rant nor is it intended to send any bad vibes. However, this first paragraph is going to be... well maybe a rant. Where is the customer service?

I was recently stuck at the airport because of delayed flights. To help passengers, they handed out a note card with a phone number on it. 150 stranded passengers picked up their cell phones and started dialing. Do you really think there were a 150 operators waiting to take our call? There we stood; 5 people talking, and 145 people on hold.

Because of my delayed flight, I missed my connection, which then put me at my final destination after the rental car company closed. For-seeing this problem, I called the rental car company to inform them that I was going to be late. They assured me that once I was in the system they could not leave until I arrived and had my car. When I arrived they must have put me in the wrong system because the guy I had spoke with was long gone. Where was the help along the way? Nowhere. The great irony and humor I found was that while I waited for the airline, they had sent me an email. The email was telling me about the great service they have and the deals I could get if I booked with them again... Dial 1 for English, 2 for Spanish, 3 if you need to hear options 4, 5 or 6.

Ok, that is half my rant, but I assume you have all been there at some time. I write this because I have customers, clients, and collectors of my own, and always consider how I would like to be treated. I am not a “Prima Donna.” I do not need all green M & M’s waiting for me when I get to my hotel room. I am just another human being that could use some help.

So here is what a little company like myself did. Last year I received a commission; it was a gift from a wife to her husband. She wanted to surprise a man who already had everything with a painting by me for Christmas. We worked out the details, bounced around ideas about his Alma Mater. I did some sketches. She approved them and I was on my way painting. When I completed the work, I sent it out to be delivered before Christmas. I am not sure exactly what Fed-ex did but I made a few calls and assured her it would be there the 24th. Christmas came and went and I had not heard a word. So being the good business owner, I followed up and found out that he did not like the painting. The wife and I had worked so hard together. She felt bad, and did not want to tell me of his disappointment. Now I had a decision to make. Either I let this painting sit in the closet and be considered to be the worst Christmas present ever or I make him a new one. I offered them option 2. By doing this I gained a repeat client and everyone was happy. Granted I had to do some extra work, but, isn’t that customer service?

In the end it became a win win for everyone. He/we donated the first painting to his Alma Mater for a fundraiser, he gets the tax incentives and my painting goes to someone that might never have seen my work. It sure beats the closet and there weren’t even any restocking fees... don’t get me started.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Some of the Best Things Are Things I Don’t Know

It started with an online call for artists. A place in Kentucky needed a mural. With a budget in mind, this organization was looking for skilled artists. I did not know if I could do it but at least I had the artist part. I and two other artists were selected out of hundreds of others to produce a concept and mock up. I spoke with the owner of the building, another person I did not know, and he described what he was looking for.

The assignment was to design a mural for a place that I had never heard of, somewhere in Kentucky. While I did not have the measurements for this place, I had a photograph of the building, but knew nothing about the building. Due to the area, I figured it had to include a horse; which, again I know nothing about.  Despite all my unknowns, I decided to begin.

So I got started with a bunch of ideas running through my mind. After spending many days on the Internet: searching the area, looking at photos, and coming up with some numbers that would fit within the given budget, I formulated ideas for efficient means to tackle this project. The plan was to paint within the walls of my own studio and then install it on sight because the budget given to complete the mural was not large enough to support a two-month stay “somewhere in Kentucky.” My other thought was to work with a paint-by-number horse to avoid creating a horse that was not from Kentucky that I know nothing about.  Furthermore, in case I counted the bricks wrong, I would create the mural horizontally. This would help avoid unnecessary complications. Lastly, to keep within the budget, I would include some free labor from my family.

With my completed plan and work, I ventured out to the Unknown and began to learn. I learned: This place in Kentucky, that I had no idea where it was, was called Lexington and was ten hours away. Furthermore, Lexington is home of the Kentucky University.  Ironically the University’s school colors happened to match the same blue that I chose to put into my mural. While I still know nothing about horses, I found out that people in Kentucky invest a lot of money in these animals and can tell them apart as well. Another thing I became aware of was that the wall was longer than I realized and not as high as I had planned. However, it was not a problem because it is easier to cut from a work then to add more to a mural.  I also discovered that the building, which I was painting on, was a great restaurant. In their hospitable manner, they treated my family and I to delicious food the whole time we were there! Lastly, I learned of my ability to work with my family; and while I am an ok boss, I could use some patience as a father