Friday, December 10, 2010

I'm a Pen

It's not fun, but it happens. I was complaining to my studio-mate about a commission that I have, and he told me that what I was complaining about he and a friend referred to as "being a pen."

Here is how you become a pen: Someone commissions you to make something. Then they tell you all the details of how it should be made—exact distances from this to that, exact colors, a brim no wider than 'X', but certainly not less than 'Y'. "But be creative, after all, it's your art." Right.

Here's the problem with asking someone to be a pen: It's all you get. I'm an artist. I like to create. If someone asks me to make them something and gives me lots of creative freedom, I feel I owe it to them to go beyond their expectations. If they are simply using me as hands to create something they've got in their own mind, I'm only going to deliver what is asked of me. Why should I go above and beyond?—It's obvious that they're not interested in my creativity.

And yet, here I am, a pen. Why? The woman really needs a hat. She's got a tough little head to fit, and in the end I feel for her. Let's hope she likes it.

Don't ask me to be a pen, let me be a paint brush.

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