If you tell someone that you are a painter, the first thing they are likely to do is ask what kind of paintings you make. Then you stumble with words trying to explain years worthy of ideas and theory in a few sentences. From their blank expression, you can usually tell that they are not listening and can't wait to tell you what they like and what you should be making. And this is fine.
I don't consider myself a self-centered snob but my work generally is very personal and sometimes contains references that might be bordering on the esoteric. However, I believe that the personal often addresses the universal and that many things can be understood at a gut level rather than intellectually. With that said, I always have the concern that I'm living far too much in my own head . I don't want to be just rubbing my nose in my own stinky armpit again and again. But, sometimes it's hard to know.
My wife has a treasury of art ideas that I don't use. They don't fit what I generally "do". About two years ago, we were in the car and I was bouncing around thoughts about what kind of piece I would make for a painting class I was taking. I think my bright idea had something to do with my then painful hernia. (I love medical themes). My wife just spouted out off of the top of her head, "You need to paint a panda licking on a light bulb". I thought this was a bad idea and tried to move on. She kept insisting that it was what I needed to do. Eventually it turned into an argument. I didn't paint the panda or the hernia.
Three weeks ago, at a loss for an inexpensive Christmas present, I remembered the panda and painted it for her. I did it in small scale (3.5"x5.5") not only to make it go fast but also because I like small pieces . It did go pretty quickly, materials didn't cost much, and I actually enjoyed making it and thought it turned out well.
This gave me the idea. I can remove myself from my own head for a while and just use my hands. I can take requests and custom make paintings for people, painting whatever they want, however they want, without restrictions on subject matter or content. As long as I work small scale, I can make a painting pretty quickly while keeping the quality high and charge at a low flat rate.
So, I'm doing it and am excited to see what people might want. Or think they want.
This blog is going to document my journey through this project. (If it were a social services program that somehow helped inner city youth I would call it "Project Panda Licking on a Light bulb" but it's not so I won't).
I will post an image of every painting I make along with commenting on the subject matter and the experience. Right now I am working on a small handful for friends to iron out the kinks before I really begin. The first will be posted soon.