This year my art goals are pretty lofty. One major thing I'm working on is a drastic expansion of my commercial body of artwork. As an artist I work in two main categories of art, with some overlap.
- My Personal Work: This consists of whatever I want to do, exploring themes and projects that appeal to me on an emotional level.
- My Commercial Work: This is comprised of commissions and concept art for manufacturers, or trends my agent suggests that I explore because they are highly marketable right now.
Often these two groups do overlap. For instance when steampunk hit big, I'd already been exploring themes along those lines in my personal work and suddenly all the images that I had that could be viewed as steampunk were gaining a whole new audience.
It's a challenge in a slow economy to eek out a living as a working artist. For myself, succes in this area has meant continuing to build and maintain my commercial work, while also persuing personal projects. From the outside looking in, fans of my work might not see much difference between these two categories. And that's fine, I work no less hard on my commercial pieces then I do on my personal work. And many of my commercial pieces follow my personal interests. For example a new painting - Lord Ganesha was painted with several commercial pursuits in mind, and yet he's always been a favorite of mine and I've hoped to find time to paint my version of him for a long time.
Remover of obstacles - Ganesha (aka Ganesh) is one of the most beloved of Hindu Gods. A recent Facebook meme reminder Ganesha devotees to "Don't tell Ganesha how big your problems are, tell your problems how big your Ganesha is".
BUT.... you knew there was a but...didn't you? ;) For the working artist, well for THIS one anyway - the ongoing struggle is the balance between painting what feeds my soul, versus what feeds my tummy. The eternal hope is that most of what I work on will fall into that sweet spot I illustrated above. Work that feeds my soul, and inspires my audience and also pays the bills. So while I'm working on all those commercial paintings this year, I'm also working on another project - a project that began as an inspiration for a novel and has now turned into something a little richer.
At this point I've mostly given up trying to force THE PROJECT into a recognizable shape. It's decided on it's own that it first wants to be an illustrated short story, then a series of paintings, and lastly if I can get my literary shit together, a novel. That's what it's told me. So there you have it.
Yesterday a piece of lovely from THE PROJECT decided to come out and play. A simple sketch, a moment from the short story that has been bouncing at the back of my eyelids for weeks. I finally pulled it out and set it down. The doll in the sketch is Mina. She's a Muse. Her crow friend is Traipser, he's a kind of Muse too, but a little less gentle with his methods of inspiration. I'll leave you with the sketch and ask you to feel free to share your thoughts about balance, work, art and inspiration.
P.S. WHOOPS I forgot I've got large format prints available now - for those that are interested!