During my ten years or so as a commercial artist I had spells with two top London artist’s agents. The main and obvious advantage of having an agent was that they went out and got you commissions. Most artists by definition, tend to be ill equipped, emotionally and attitudinally for the tasks of both finding and especially negotiating with clients. Artist’s agents on the other hand, often with backgrounds in advertising and / or art production have extensive lists of contacts and the wherewithal for exploiting those connections.
The big disadvantage in the artist / artist agent relationship however was the near-total lack of control the artist has over the process, from commissioning to payment. And, it was ultimately the payment issues which trumped the advantages and convinced me to toughen-up and go it alone. My final artist’s agent’s commission was a case in point and also the last straw. What began as an unusually free brief – to paint a series of of 24 poster-style gouache paintings to decorate 12 luxury, first-class cruise liner suites for a seriously good fee, manifested as an exercise in frustration and acrimony. The fact I had to resort to the threat of lawyers against my own agent to extricate partial payment gives a good idea of just how sour things got.
In the normal course of events, I worked directly with the clients, and delivered my work to them myself. For some reason never fully explained, on this occasion I did not get to meet the client and instead dealt exclusively with my agent. What exactly went wrong between the time of me handing over the finished pictures to the agent, and her passing them to the client – or indeed, if she ever handed them to the client, I never discovered. All I did know for sure, was that two months of hard work was never fully paid for. Fortunately, during my ongoing film-to-digital trawl, I recently came across colour slides of several examples of the artwork from that fateful commission and the original photographic templates.
If I was ever to receive a similar commission again, apart from making sure to deal with the client on a one-to-one basis, I might also decide to produce Photoshop images (presented on the similar art papers to the original gouaches) rather than paintings. For me the finished results, especially with these highly graphic, minimalist images are at least as good as paintings, and in the awful prospect that I again would not be fully recompensed, would have expended a fraction of the time.
Presented here (within the text) in triptych form are four of those very images. The photo templates comprise the central images, with the original gouaches on the right, and my new Photoshop treatments on the left. See what you think and don’t be afraid to let me know…
10 thoughts on “TRIPLE-TAKES AND DOUBLE CHOICES”
In every case excepting the “balcon” at Arcos I prefer the original gouaches, particularly the restaurant in Granada and the arch in Arcos de la Frontera. There are many reasons but the bottom line is just a matter of taste.
Thanks Edgar, I’ve got a feeling that might prove to be the majority opinion.
There are those who have turned Photoshop into an “art” in itself making changes in amazing detail. But short of that, I think the client would prefer the gouaches.
So far then, more work for me. Oh well.
In one case I prefer the Bishop’s Palace in Seville in the photo reconstruction. Perhaps it is the greater tonal depth that this image has.
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Yes, thinking about it, as you and Edgar have pointed out, it might actually depend upon the subject matter as to which treatment works best for each image.
Yes, prefer the originals in most… a couple I sway to and fro. But Arcos de Frontera, your gouache the best… and I like the tiles too… though makes it busy it gets that feel of Granada with them… hmm.
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I always prefer the hand of the artist with a brush in it!! With no doubt!!
Thanks Ana, there definitely seems to be a consensus developing here! Oh well, looks like I’l have to get the brushes out again.