I’m not sure what is in the air this season, besides the guava still breezing through our windows, but a wealth of commission work has found itself ripening on the studio walls, tables, and floors. The first commission piece I had ever worked on was back in 2003 while still in school. It took me months to even begin creating it, though, since I was given a reference to work from and had struggled with idea of it not being completely “my own work”.
As I’ve matured, I’ve learned to embrace these commissions as collaborations, and I have been exceedingly blessed with clients who have given me complete liberty to translate the stories they've shared and the inspiration I've gathered into whichever method, medium, and imagery resonates most organically with me. It has become a joyful co-creative experience and a true honor to help the clients narrate their stories, honor their loved ones, and exalt the very important things in their lives.
A few weeks ago, I delivered "Little Bunnies" to Judith A. Kaluzny. We leaned the piece against her low-sitting drum coffee table, sat on her living room floor looking and discussing, and I was thrilled that she loved the piece as much as I loved creating it. Her response to the work confirmed for me, once again as always, that the language of art is potent, universal and transcendent.
My creative process often requires a considerable amount of research and reference-building, and I find that the more invested I am in time, in thought, and in soul, the more that mutual heart will translate in the work.
Judith and I rummaged through several boxes of photographs before finding the ones which spoke of the nuances I had hoped to capture in her piece – these tender moments to be memorialized. She had generously shared with me some of her precious memories from her childhood in the Fox River Valley of Wisconsin. Herein, we found our inspiration for our piece.
I thought about this experience of co-creation. As I remind myself to apply the very same concept to Life, I could spend it gathering meaningful references, create revelatory moments, and make beautiful things (tangible and intangible), all to contribute to the quality of life. And I believe I am here to do that very thing - to collaborate with the world around me in order create these moments that will inevitably become history. Hers, his, mine, ours.