A few weeks ago my 12 year old daughter Lucy came fourth place in her age group in the Texaco Children’s Art Competition, winning a Special Merit Award. She painted a beautiful oil painting of her grandad and her cousin Abby and I was super proud of her.
This is not the first time that Lucy has shown creativity however particularly if you consider Tracy Emin’s 1998 ‘Unmade Bed’ as a significant artistic achievement.
Okay, so the sea of clothes we wade through daily on her floor is minor by comparison to the underwear, empty vodka bottles and pregnancy tests that Tracey Emin exhibited for the Turner Prize Exhibition in 1999, but it’s sufficiently messy to at least qualify as a minor masterpiece. We tried similar criticisms to those levied at Tracey Emin back at the turn of the millennium suggesting that the mess was ‘solipsistic, endlessly self regarding and a homage to herself’ but that didn’t work so we ended up on Adverts.ie, searching for wardrobes instead.
Cut to 1 week later and I am driving a rented van (thank you Go Car) and wrestling with a beautiful but gargantuan wardrobe 50km away from home. It was about that time that Lucy mentioned that she quite liked the Ikea wardrobe that we had bought for her brother. Cue several expletives, deep breaths and a major rethink and Ikea are delivering between 7 and 7 today (because no one has anything else to do on a Saturday!).
The joys of a renovation or just family life in general is that days don’t always end the way we plan at the start. What I now realise is that I need to apply the professional lessons I have learned over the years equally to family life ie always ask the client very carefully what they want at the beginning and check in regularly as you go (see how I produce a commissioned work). Fortunately from a professional perspective, oil painting is a very forgiving medium when you need to make changes and in the case of the wardrobe it will look really good in our bedroom!
I quite like commissions as you can achieve something meaningful for people including houses, people, children, dogs or even changing the perspective of a location in the picture so that everything can fit in. This week whilst I was in the pop up shop several people mentioned that they were looking for something in particular but that they had hoped to stumble across it rather than commissioning it. When I was an art purchaser rather than an artist I also wouldn’t have considered it, thinking it unaffordable, but it is a great way to create something that is genuinely meaningful for you and so has lasting value.
Anyway, as I didn’t interrogate the client enough and as we really want to get rid of the floordrobe/’reality of the female experience at the turn of the millennium’ I now just have to decide which of the two deeply unappealing (and potentially relationship ending) tasks I would rather do first-carry that beast of a wardrobe up to our room or assemble an Ikea wardrobe…