Sunday, June 06, 2010

Can You Pick And Choose?

A while back I had a potential customer offer me a commission to do a piece that I had absolutely no interest in doing. I've done them before, these 'match my sofa' commissions, and I've always gritted my teeth, held my nose, made the piece, collected my fee and moved on. But there was something about this one that just hurt my head.

It wasn't obscene, satanic or blasphemous (now THAT would have been interesting! ha.), it was just mundane in the extreme. I knew it would just suck the life out of me.

Yeah, I know what you're thinking; how pretentious, who does this guy think he is? Well, I'm nearly 65 and I've been doing this for over 30 years and I'm tired in a lot of ways. Physically, standing bent over a work table all day hurts and at the end of the day it's hard to walk. But even more, I've lost a lot of the enthusiasm I had as a young man. The thrill of making something beautiful out of nothing but your imagination and getting someone to not only agree that it is beautiful but to pay you for it could keep me going through some truly difficult jobs.

Or maybe it's that I'm not doing art shows anymore. In the past they always charged my batteries. Meeting the public and doing a little selling was energizing, plus
I'd come home with lots of ideas and plenty of validation. But art shows are for younger folks.

So I blew him off. Actually, I handed him off to another shop. But in so doing I made a promise to myself to do interesting work whenever possible. How I'm going to accomplish this I don't know but it's got to be art or I'm just a hooker and in it only for the money.



  1. Hi Joe, I'm a 66 yr. old stained glass artist. I understand completely. My husband and I also no longer do shows, but I say "the customers quit first". My most significant work came 2 years ago with 12 large church windows. The last 2 were portraits of the Lord Jesus and the Virgin Mary. They were quite a challenge, took a year and turned out well. After that everything else seems "old hat". I like your blog. Greta at