Saturday, 29 September 2012

My First Commission? Artwork- The Triangle, Princes Town

I finally got it back!

In 2008, I received my very first commission to showcase the development of the promenade in my home town of Princes Town as well as the landmark Rotary Club's clock that was erected. I was so excited. Unfortunately for me, being young, naive and inexperienced in the art world, I gave the piece up with my budget without receiving payment in good faith to an individual who I honestly believed meant well. Promises were made but I eventually stopped hearing about it again. I'm not going to get into all the gritty details because my story thankfully has a happy ending. 
Photograph of painting of The Triangle in Princes Town
Photograph of the piece in 2008. The only copy I could find was on my deviantart account with a large watermark through it.

After finally doing some inquiry about it earlier this year, the good people of the institution that my piece was intended for, launched an investigation into it and located my piece. They retrieved it and kept it safely until arrangements could be made for delivery. They dropped it off this week! :D 

This painting illustrates the Rotary Club’s clock that was erected in the heart of Princes Town and features also the surrounding promenade, capturing the skyline of Princes Town. Illustrations and sketches were first undertaken in preparation for the piece following which materials were sourced and the appropriate media selected for the painting. This piece took approximately three (3) weeks to finish, inclusive of preparation time.

Mixed media of watercolours and acrylic paints were used, after which a pen and ink wash was done to add more detail. Bright and vivid colours were used to bring out the warmth of the Princes Town, and a warm colour palette of reds and yellows was used to contrast against the cool tones of blue and green in the piece.

Interesting Fact about this piece: A week after I took some reference photos to work from, there was a fire and the yellow wooden building that was Lana's Jewellers, was burnt to the ground. It's interesting how quickly the skyline of a town changes. I am glad that I was able to capture that small bit of history before it was destroyed. 

The following is a photo I took of the piece when I received it this weekend. The lighting was not the best to capture the colours so please forgive the quality of the photograph. There was some slight water damage done to the piece but I think I can restore it and I am simply grateful that four years later that I have it in my possession and in one piece.

The Triangle, Princes Town Painting
The Triangle (2008) Mixed media on watercolour paper,  © 2012 Shazanna Khan

This entire situation along with the experience that I gained when helping organising Mt Hope's Art Gala earlier this year has taught me many important lessons.

Firstly, if you're going to sell your work, make a print for your personal collection. I learnt this from one of my lecturers who displayed some of his prints of his sold work at the art gala. It was such a simple solution which I can't believe I had never thought of before.

For me, when it comes to selling my artwork, the most difficult thing is actually giving up my work. I invest time, effort and emotion into a new piece, it is difficult to get time to do new pieces with my schedule at school and I suppose I simply become attached to them.

If I make a print, my family and I can at least still enjoy my work, I will have something for my personal records and like the case of this piece, if something happened to the original, it would not have felt as if all my hard work was in vain.

As new artists to the arena of sales, it is easy to make mistakes and put our faith in people we probably should not. If a deal seems shady, trust your gut instinct and do not accept it! Even if it is from your best friend, your schoolmate or some long lost family member. Make sure that you and your potential client have a proper agreement and understanding of what your terms and conditions are. Simply be polite and professional.

Lastly garner advice from senior artists. They have had years of experience dealing with the public and they can advise you on so many different things concerning the art world especially what measures you can undertake so that you, as an artist, are not taken advantage of. In retrospect, it is something I wish I had done, as pricing of my artwork was and still is not my strongest point and I could have been spared a lot of headache if I knew what the usual steps were when undertaking a commission.

What do you think is a fair system for both you and your client when it comes to selling artwork/ undertaking commissions? 
Since this incident, I have been a bit skeptical about selling my pieces. I've had offers but for now I am more content for my artwork to be enjoyed by friends and family. Perhaps in the future, once I can devise my own terms and conditions it shall be a venture I will undertake.

I would love to know your thoughts and views about this blog post :) Leave me a comment about it or any handy lessons/tips that you have learnt about the art world.

Thank you for reading :)

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