no clock for you

That commissioned clock is a bust. I put an end to it today. There is a part of me that feels some sort of shame in admitting this, what with everyone saying 'oh you'll make a great clock for them I just know it' blah blah blah.

Well know what? I sent close to 30 pictures of ideas and everyone of them was rejected. I've only done two other commissions and they too were challenging but I had more freedom. I think ultimately it is a fine line between allowing the artist to do what they do and having it your way. I'm not sure I could have ever come up with something for these people. I've spent a couple weeks on this and I've reached a point where I'm not feeling like anything I do will work. I have no ill will about this, I'm frustrated naturally, but I have to respect my boundaries. I didn't charge for this up front, I didn't feel comfortable with it, how can I charge for something if they don't get anything? (to their credit they did offer to pay for my time) Yes my time is worth something but I look at it this way: I came up with more clock ideas that I'm going to make that I would not have otherwise come up with. That last clock (below a few posts) was inspired because of this commission. I'm happy with that as a cosmic payment. Were I to have gone out and hired someone to fabricate something as I almost did, then I would want to be compensated I suppose.

Commissions are an interesting experience. I've been asked to do a few that I haven't done because I knew the tastes didn't match what I wanted to produce. I guess the question is how bad do I want it? (the money) Or how hard do I want to bang my head against the wall making something that isn't coming naturally? Today obviously I don't want to bang my head anymore. I would have loved the $$, it beats driving the cab for two or three weeks to make that $300 or $400 but I guess this time I have to just buckle the seat belt and drive. Watch out I might run you over!


Sheree Rensel said...

I know EXACTLY what you are talking about. I really do. I have done commissions. It is SO difficult. People are weird sometimes. They will say stuff like "I want it EXACTLY like this or that, but I don't want this or that". You leave thinking "exactly", HUH?
I have been in situations in which I get preliminary drawings rejected and rejected and rejected. THEN, they like something. However, it is very tricky trying to make the customer realize the 3-D object is the same as the 2-D sketch they approved.
I became so frustrated with that kind of work, I stopped doing it. It just wasn't worth it to me.
It is all about choices. I made mine. You can make yours. :-)

self taught artist said...

i can tell you do know EXACTLY what i mean, i applaud you for knowing what works and doesn't and not wasting your energies! I'm learning valuable lessons :)

Karen Jacobs said...

Boy, I guess you did learn a lesson! The harder you try to please some people, the more likely they'll not be pleased. My retort is to say I'll paint something in that size with those colors and maybe it will work... and I often paint two in that vein so they can choose. If they don't, at least I have two paintings which I like, added to my inventory. It's not the fun side of art making!

self taught artist said...

now you tell me!
who knew i could be in control?

Daphne said...

I haven't done a commission yet, but have a feeling that I would have to keep some major boundaries, based on what you've just said.

Alternatively, as a designer, I have years of experience with challenging clients and the fact is that beyond the initial concept if there is an open competition for the job, the client has to pay for the hours that are put in to satisfy their sometimes endless requests.

It's unfortunate that this wasn't a straight forward transaction but like you said, you now have a lot of new clocks to make and isn't inspiration what we're always searching for?

self taught artist said...

hey daphne
from the get go I let them know I wasn't going to charge for anything up front. Were it a large, more expensive piece I would have, I just didn't want that hanging over my head. It wasn't about the money or time as much as I wasn't getting them. My artist ego wanted to make it all work out but after awhile it wasn't fun AT ALL.
I'm not keen on commissions but thought I would try it again. Now I know.

Angela Fehr said...

Good for you! Commissions are hard - most of the time I get asked to copy a painting I have sold - I won't do that. I do have one client who I do commissions for - it works because she knows my work and wants the subject matter to reflect my style. I have done two paintings for her and had her choose one - I've never found it hard to sell the extra one.