I admit it – commissions make me nervous. One of my favorite things about creating art is knowing that people emotionally connect with my work. Art is so subjective and collaborating with clients to understand what they want often makes me delve into the unknown. But honestly, tackling the unknown is also what I enjoy most about commissions.
I love a challenge and with every new project I learn something. It may be a color combination I've never considered or a subject I've never seen. Even if it's a request for a version of an old piece I will see the work in a new way and make it unique.
Last year, for instance, I did restaurant commissions that forced me explore parts of the Presidio and the surrounding neighborhood where I discovered the staggering views from the top of San Francisco's Lyon Street Stairs (popular with sadistic personal trainers) and the impressive art installations of Andy Goldsworthy scattered around the park. One of my favorite requests was for a large piece featuring the McNear brickyard in San Rafael. I had never even heard of the brickyard and when I took a ride over there to check it out I was blown away. Walking through the stacks of bricks, in various sizes and patinated colors, I felt like I had discovered the remains of an ancient city. Beyond cool!
I will always get a little nervous to start a new commission but now it feels more like excited anticipation for something that has become a guilty pleasure – a symbiotic relationship with collectors that gives me an excuse to explore new places and meet new people. And the best part, I know my clients will have a personal connection to the work they helped create.