This is it! Assiduous readers will recall that I promised a special announcement today. Here it is. The call for art has been awarded to not one, but two lucky artists!–MR from Thornapple Productions who will be the man behind the camera lens and SB who will paint the watercolour masterpiece from an assemblage of photos. We met at my place earlier to finalize things and I took the opportunity to snap a photo for all the assiduous readers:
In case you.re wondering, the little stand on the left isn.t some weird torture device but rather a bicycle repair stand. Just to the left of it is the couch (not pictured) and whenever people sit next to the bike repair stand they always get nervous like it was going to snap up and claw them in or something. It.s actually rather safe and no, it.s not spring loaded like a mousetrap!
So, how was the call for art awarded, you ask? Good question! Believe it or not, MR was one of the very first people–if not the first–that I ran into distributing the call for art. Funny how things work out sometimes, no? He was just on his way out to lunch, so I asked if I could leave the call for art with him and come back in the afternoon. By the time I came back, he had texted SB and set up a time to meet later that evening at the Cenote Lounge. We chatted about the concept, and they gave me their websites with portfolio images. At this stage, the call for art was really in a rudimentary stage and the contract hadn.t been cobbled together yet. From their input, I eventually laid out the draft contract. From the initial meeting, I came to understand the that call for art was a little bit more involved than, ‘Can you paint the dead man’s hand?’. A real setting had to be involved. We needed live models. The scene would be need to be staged. This was all new to me, but I was glad they were asking the questions to get the wheels turning in my head! One thing I really came to appreciate more after thinking about the staging the dead man’s hand is the art of the cinema. There, everything is staged and now it occurs to me that to make a movie it must be a lot of work! Good communication and a good team must be so important when putting together even the shortest of movies.
The thing that caught my eye looking at SB.s website is that she does figurative art, or, in other words, draws people. That.s actually not that common in Victoria. Most artists here seem to specialize in wildlife or abstract art. The wildlife and landscapes I can understand just because there.s so much of that here in ‘Beautiful BC’, but the popularity of abstract art is harder to figure out. Maybe it.s an expression of individuality?–with figurative art you.re getting inside someone else.s head and with abstract art you.re getting inside your own head. Whatever it is, I am glad SB draws figurative art and does so with emotion. To me, the ’emotion’ of capturing the look of surprise is the one thing that would make the dead man’s hand come alive. The thing that caught my eye looking at MR.s website is the way he captures the light and shadows with the camera. ‘Inspired by Nosferatu’, he said at Cenote that evening. Nosferatu is a silent black and white 1922 movie where everything that is conveyed by speech and colour today must be conveyed by other means; part of speech.s capacity and the aesthetic capacity of colour is sublimated into a wonderful play between light and darkness. There is a theatrical aspect to his photography that would come in handy in staging the dead man’s hand.
It wasn.t skill alone–though they certainly have plenty–that led to the award to SB and MR. I got a good vibe from them. And what is more, it seemed to me that they had worked together in the past and enjoyed working with one another. To me, that goes a long way. Finally, I got the impression that they were genuinely interested in working on this project. That.s a big plus. If they were interested in it, then I would be interested in working with them.
That.s the interesting thing with commissions. I get this feeling that some artists don.t especially enjoy doing commissions. The commission ‘stifles their creativity’. Or the commission ‘doesn.t allow them to express their inner individuality’. The commission turns them off. But to me, wouldn.t the commission be in many ways easier and more fulfilling than having to come up with something original of the abyss of a google of ideas? I think back on grade school. Do you remember having to write a paper for the teacher? Now, wasn.t it easier when the teacher gave you a specific topic? I remember the ones where the teacher said, ‘Write anything you want’ were the hardest papers. There was just too much choice in the ‘write anything you want’ papers. It would be hard to get started because the amount of choice would just be too overwhelming. This would be like the artist that is to create something from scratch. Where to begin? Which way is up? Which way is down? The paper where the teacher assigns a topic is more like the art commission. Here there are certain parameters, guidelines, and concepts. The parameters, guidelines, and concepts make it easy to start. Nor do the parameters, guidelines, and concepts stifle the artist.s creativity. They merely provide a fixed framework within which the artist can draw out expression. Think on counterpoint and the fugue. These are the most regulated forms of music. They have the most rules and procedures: augmentation, diminution, augmented canons, and so on. But listening to the fugue, you can hear creativity in play because the rules give it a framework and form. That.s sort of like the art commission: it.s a form within which one can express their individuality and skill. Going back to commissions and music, Bach.s Goldberg Variations were commissioned and so were the Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations and Mozart.s Requiem. Are any of these masterworks lacking in creativity?
So, dear reader, I wanted to share the good news with you today that the call for art is going out to production. In the following weeks we will have a photo shoot and from the photo shoot maybe a month for the finished masterpiece. SB showed a sneak preview of a watercolour sketch of the dead man’s hand (in my hand nonetheless–I have held the dead man’s hand and lived to tell the tale!) and I.m looking forward to the results. For aspiring artists looking for words of wisdom commissioning cover art, I.d suggest you go out there to talk with the artists (rather than email) and to find like minded folks who you feel comfortable chatting with. The funny thing that I learned was that it.s not really necessary to come to a decision on whether the artist has the right set of skills because the artist will make this decision for you. How does this work, you ask? Well, if the artist has the right set of skills, they will know and they will be interested. If it.s not the sort of art they do, they simply won.t be interested!
Call for art going into production! Onwards and upwards! Until next time, I.m Edwin Wong and I am Doing Melpomene’s Work.