This past year we tabulated a collective assessment of the art around the studio and home. It was fascinating to discover we have a sizable body of my personal works still on hand. These paintings were created outside the constraints of any guiding relationship with a client, be it private or commercial. The works represent numerous hours of invested labor, likely bordering on an entire year’s output, yet for various reasons remained ‘uncapitalized’ -unsold, unfinished, or absorbed into our family collection.
Being a commercial illustrator for three decades has defined how I work and the clients I work for, I am very project orientated. Thus my mind set is that I tend not to paint anything just ‘for fun’ when undertaking personal projects, I am always considering how the art can contribute to a narrative, series, or exploration into some technical feat. The range of content and themes embraced over the years means I actually do have fun with each of these projects! And that they add to my growing body of career imagery in many diverse ways.
This post features an interesting survey of paintings I have taken a near ‘total loss’ on. Meaning that they were never commissioned for a particular project, nor have they yet sold for numerous reasons – from never being exhibited, placed into our collection, or just not yet finished. Basically I have lost quite a bit of ‘earnings’ on each of these works, from the materials invested, to the weeks taken to create many of them, to doubling down and framing many of them expensively!
The ‘total loss’ phrasing is obviously misleading, as nearly every single one of these creations was executed to leverage my aesthetic growth and break new ground conceptually. Thus most of these images have been highly profitable from a career standpoint, and many could find buyers if released onto the market, but at this moment they are ‘unrealized capital’.
What gives strength to this body of work is that this list has always fluctuated. Many more paintings would be here except that they found new homes in past years. I am constantly adding new paintings, while others sell off. The need to not have to sell immediately every single product of my studio means I get to enjoy these works and, luckily, contemplate and preserve many for our own private family collection!
It is a pleasure viewing these works in a new light as a creative body and their impact on my career development. And these are not the only ones…