Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Commercial Art - You Never Know

"Goin's Ad for ARK SAFE"
Acrylic on Canvas Panel

©Cheryl A. Pass

Click on image to enlarge the view.
Note: The actual painting is quite a lot brighter and somewhat larger in real life. I cropped it here just a bit.

In earlier years in my art career I was a commercial artist. So occasionally someone approaches me to paint something that is totally commercial and totally fictional and totally off the wall. Since I devote most of my painting time to contemporary realism, dog portraits, still lives, and landscapes, etc., I'm a bit out of practice in the commercial art field. Given the economic climate our socialist government has created today, a lot of galleries have gone out of business and fine art in some sectors has taken a pretty bad hit.

So when a businessman approached me recently to do a commercial piece, I was all too happy to give it a shot. I know the guy. He is the roofer who contracted to replace our roof last year. He and his crew did a great job and we were glad to have them. His business is doing well....and that's a great thing! But an artist he is not, so he brought me an idea and ask me to run with it. Yikes! The problems of the piece were many.

As a side business, he has set up an insurance consulting business for inspecting roofs for insurance companies. Being a devout Christian, he decided to use the Ark as his symbol. His explanation is that the Ark is awash in the stormy sea and the roofer is there to save the day. Hmmmmm....o.k so far. How to depict that, I was asking my creative brain. The only reference he gave me to go on was a comic book line drawing of an Ark and that is exactly what he wanted for his Ark. O.K. says I, the ever intrepid artist thinking I can do anything. LOL.

So the research began. I went looking for pictures of stormy skies, rainy scenes, oceans roiling in stormy weather, and for a roofer who would be working on a roof in a good position to show up in this scene. I immediately determined that if I did the roofer to scale, he would not show up at all. Mr. Goin's, the roofer, also told me he wanted this art to accommodate billboard size and letterhead size. Whoa...that means it has to be blown up huge and shrunk down to very small proportions. That means details could be good, but also could be totally lost on the small version. He's looking for manly colors and strength in this painting to convey confidence and ability to "save the day for his clients." But he only gave me a cartoon line drawing of an Ark? (Oh, my...my brain did fry.) I hope the message is clear from the working roofer up there in the storm. Another requirement is to accomodate type to either be applied to the art or around the art. Sheesh...

Finally, today I have finished painting this completely fictional version of a roofer working on top of Noah's Ark in the worst of the storm. Whew. It took me a few weeks, off and on, to pull this off. He is coming this afternoon and I hope to heaven he likes it because I have stretched my brain and tried to put into this exactly his directions as to what he wanted.

I am picturing some family driving down the road and upon seeing this billboard, a child from the back seat will yell out...."Look, Mommy and Daddy, there is a man on top of the Ark!"

So, when faced with advertising and commercial art pieces, you never know what you are going to get. And I want to say that doing this was a small way of celebrating something that is left of our American economy! I was happy to have the job, and I am happy Mr. Goin's is doing well and ask me to do it for him.

Now you have the story of my side step into the commercial art kingdom for this week. Next up comes some more dog portraits that have been commissioned. I hope I can switch gears through and after the holidays. It will be fun to tackle those!


Connie said...

Good problem solving, Cheryl. I'm sure he'll be quite happy with it. I love those waves!!

Cheryl Pass said...

Hi Connie....Thanks for saying that. This one was really weird and now the roofer has not come to pay me and pick it up, so I fear I have wasted my time on him. I did what he asked from info he gave me, but now I'm not sure what to say about it. This will teach me to get some of the money up front. Especially on commercial work. I do think the final painting will work for advertising quite well and says what it needs to say for his purposes....so I am perplexed now. Sent him an invoice. So far nothing.

Great to hear from you!! I hope you have a really wonderful Christmas with your family!!! Maybe I'll see you in the coming year ...hope so.