By Steven Kenny
So many artists are struggling now! To their credit, many local arts organizations such as Creative Pinellas and St Petersburg Arts Alliance are stepping up to help those in need.
Strangely, I’ve seen a rise in commission work during the past month and a half. The commissions are coming from many different directions — some unanticipated — and I’m feeling SO grateful! However, I have to believe that this is a result of having planted many seeds over the years that continue, over time, to sprout and bear fruit.
Like all non-essential businesses, the art galleries I work with are temporarily closed during the COVID-19 crisis. In these days of online sales, brick-and-mortar galleries are still very necessary. Under these extreme circumstances they are being very creative and doing all they can to keep interest up and attract buyers. Still, there’s nothing like strolling down a street and popping into a gallery to look around. Viewing artwork on a computer screen doesn’t compare to experiencing the same images in person.
In spite of that, here are some examples of recent commissions …
This Royal Blue Jay commission (above) came through ARTicles Gallery right here in St Petersburg. I’m very lucky to be represented by them!
The Royal Goldfinch painting above came from the owner of a gallery I worked with over 10 years ago when I lived in Virginia. Her gallery closed around that time and she’s now a private dealer but she’s maintained an internet presence. Someone saw an “old” goldfinch on her website and commissioned a new one for herself. Since then, the buyer’s daughter saw it, fell in love, and wanted one, too! In addition to those, this dealer has also just sealed the deal on a larger Royal Monarch (butterfly) painting with the possibility of another down the road.
This portrait of Chrissie was done for my next door neighbor of her beloved dog. No charge for hand delivery!
Aside from those, another pet commission is in the works for a wonderful staff member that I know at the Dali Museum here in town. Another is a personal portrait commssioned by a well-known jewelry designer based in India. I’m also talking with an interior designer in NYC and a woman in Sweden who has been a fan for many years — both are considering commissions.
Meanwhile, online print orders are still coming in here and there through my website.
Much of this flurry of activity might not be happening if I wasn’t as diversified as I am. One important bit of advice I always offer young artists is not to put all your eggs in one basket. Don’t limit your market to the area where you live. Over my 36-year career I’ve established and maintained connections in each state where I’ve resided, as well as across the country and around the world.
No one knows what the future will bring but I’m feeling extremely fortunate right now!