Contact Form

I've been meaning to write this post for a while but haven't gotten around to it. A while back my friends and I were talking about visual artists having to compromise their aesthetic for a client. One of my friends mentioned that she had a colleague that does graphic design work for a company but he isn't allowed to get too creative with his ideas. She asked me, "How does an artist deal with situations like that?"

I'm not sure there is only one answer to that question. Obviously, a client's satisfaction is or should be top priority but, at the same time, art is a deeply personal expression--at least it is for me. It's difficult not to take it personally when someone feels dissatisfied with my artwork because the truth is that a piece of myself goes into every project I do. That's my nature as an artist. Nonetheless, there are just those times when you have to bite the bullet and give the client what they want, even if it goes against all your professional sensibilities.
Untitled Painting (c) 2009

"Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time." - Thomas Merton

In speaking with other artsy people I've come to discover that we artists are a curious group of people. I'm often surprised at how easy it is for an artist to lose herself in the creative vision of her clients or altogether forget the joys of art as a result of creative differences. What helps me rebound from circumstances such as these is what I like to call "outlet art." I have a small sketchbook that is sort of like my art journal, a sacred place that allows me to reconnect with myself through art.

I've created some pretty interesting pieces of art in my sketchbook. Here, scribbles in colored pencil or drippings of paint transform into profound realizations of personal identity.There is a sense of freedom and creative liberation that comes from knowing that whatever I put in those pages is for me alone. Having that personal and artistic haven allows me to do what I love--make art--without becoming resentful of commercial restraints.

Are there any other artists out there who have struggled with clients over conflicting aesthetics? How do you deal with creative limitations?