Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Commercial Perks

I completed one of my first commercial job last week through Artstep: a 35 foot restaurant mural made to look like old advertising on the side of a building. I was part of a two-person team who rendered the design and execution.

A few things I noticed. First, a large swath of people complimented me on what I was doing, and that’s recognition, whether it’s the kind I had in mind or not. One construction worker on the site asked me if he understood what he was looking at. He did. Seeing it on top of “getting it” seemed to be a perk to his day. To mine too.

Of course, there’s the puritanical artist's panic that doing commercial work is unpure, and that real artists should be focusing on more profound concerns in the studio. Do I want my name associated with this? Does it mean a gallery won’t take me seriously? Will this work effect my “real work”? Who the F cares. I like what we made and I actually have enough money this week to buy some sneakers.

And in any case, back in the studio last night, I noticed a playfulness, a willingness to expand my visual vocabulary. Maybe the mural made me – briefly – less sanctimonious.

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