April 2017- May 2018
Artists: Mary Birmingham and Morgan Hamilton
A year after the initial discussion - a twice-forwarded email - my largest two-person collaborative commission is complete. The final product being a revived hallway with: a 15 ft bench using wood reclaimed from a local artist’s installation, a 4x6 ft canvas abstract painting, two 7x7 inch paintings, and a dual height coat rack.
The process over the past year has rehearsed me in several areas of art business. The most glaring lesson to me now is the challenge of navigating multiple clients with different ideas on or visions of a single project. This difference of opinion can quickly snowball into a loop of back and forth emails and discussions, and can end with never making any real decisions. For example in one of the first meetings we discussed the aspect of working with the ceramicists and students taking pottery in the studio at the end of the hallway, to help generate some of the imagery for the painting. I created a project for the ceramics class that had each student make tiles that we would incorporate onto the wall and benches. Unfortunately all of that work was for naught, as the two clients could not agree, and ultimately changed their minds. This back-and-forth between the two clients, along with working for a County-run studio full of state invoices and processing, contributed greatly to this becoming a year-long project.
Those two issues seemed to dominate the project at some points, and the actual painting and creating of the commission became a chore. And to lose the joy of the project was quite discouraging. But, I had to finish it anyway. (Especially if I wanted to get paid.)
So before stepping to the canvas with the weight of all the emails, meetings, and discussions, I had to separate things. The weight was still there, but I could not bring it with me to the act of painting because otherwise I just could not paint.
So I dropped the weight for the paint.
I said to myself “Just paint…. Just paint for the joy of painting, and that will be enough.”
And it was.
Credit for the woodworking (benches and coatrack) and for the digital 3D hallway design mock-up: Morgan Joseph Hamilton
For large scale commission requests please email a detailed proposal, including a reasonable budget to: