Painting What I Want vs. What I’m Asked To Do

Most of my art reflects whatever it is that I’m inspired by at a given moment.  To anyone who knows me personally, it shouldn’t be a jaw-dropper that my inspiration comes largely from:  City Life, Pretty Flowers, Prettier Women, Music, and Random One-off Stuff.

When I paint something I’m inspired by, I don’t concern myself with whether others will like it or if it will sell.  I learned from years of playing and recording music that you can never create art – music or otherwise – with the audience in mind, because you have no idea how someone will react.  There is no “formula” to guarantee that everyone – or anyone – will like something you create.  You can never second-guess your audience.  You only can create what pleases you and have faith that your work will affect or inspire others – even one person – in a positive way. 

Where the wrench is thrown at the monkey is when I’m asked to do a commissioned painting.  While some people will give me an idea of what they envision – subject, colors, size, etc. – and then allow me wide discretion, others are very specific.  In those situations, it’s no longer painting solely based on inspiration, but painting something that someone wants me to paint, and doing it to their specifications, expectations, and satisfaction.  Initially, there's an artistic resistance to doing such a painting. 

However, artists – especially this one – generally have egos that walk into the room nine inches before they do, so adulation and the need to please others become significant factors.  That is when I make a conscious effort to shift focus from pure inspiration to execution.  Inspiration then comes from the challenge of creating what someone wants me to create.  The challenge itself is the inspiration.  It’s a shift in mindset.

All this brings me to a painting I am about to begin.  A friend asked me to paint a picture of his children’s elementary school for a fundraising event.  From an artistic vantage point, nothing could be less inspiring or more mundane.  However, as I’ve chosen to approach it, I’m inspired by the challenge of actually painting a credible picture of a school.

Stay tuned to this website and my Instagram page (@rtunes68) to see how the painting turns out.