I’m a firm believer in the power or art on many levels, but I want to focus on one aspect.
What is the value of being Part of Your Art?
As part of our process in the portrait tier of our business, I always ask clients what they intend to do with the art we create for them?
As a print artist, I get to witness every day the power of print. The feeling of breathing life into an image when we take it off our computer screen and bring it into the physical world. I get to see the physical response of my clients as they experience this as well. But, not everyone has this experience.
As I often experience with new clients, I’m always intrigued to hear how many people discuss not initially being interested in large prints of their family for fear of seeming vain.
To that, I’d like to offer a different perspective.
What if I asked it a different way?
What message do you send to your children and your spouse when you choose to make them part of your daily experience?
What perspective can we gain from starting and ending our day with a moment in time with the people we love most?
What do we tell ourselves when we have to look at our own portrait being the only one that knows what we were thinking in that moment?
How can we still connect with and remember our elders when they have moved from this world? Can we still facilitate an experience between them and our young children who didn’t get the opportunity to meet?
We have so much to gain from changing this point of view. What is wrong with celebrating the things in our lives that matter most? Our relationships and the people we love. If we can’t celebrate this in our home, what chance do we have in the outside world?
Being part of our art tells our children they matter. It validates why we go to work. It reminds us to slow down and create more moments with the precious time we have. It helps us navigate our new relationships as they develop.
Sometimes people bring up the question about what to do with family portraits when everyone has grown and changed? Where should we put the “old” ones?
This does not adhere to my philosophy. In fact, to the contrary, I challenge this idea with another that our portraits gain strength with time.
When I have families have portraits done regularly over time, their story is captured. Their milestones are recorded. They get to relive those each day. We work with families to rework their collections to include new additions. To counter point a time when their children were small to a time when they’ve grown. Themselves as children next to their children and grandchildren.
Wow…such power in those stories.
I have one client who had us take their family’s portrait almost 14 times in three years. Even I, in the moment thought that was a lot. But not any more. What I learned was that through capturing maternities, newborn children, baptisms, family events, and more, I was able to document many stories in parallel. I watched the parents grow from youths to parents. I watched the emotions of young parents taking on the strength and responsibility of guardians. Babies celebrate small victories.
When they had me assemble a book as a gift that documented their story, it was nothing less than magical.
Being part of your art is an idea and a validation that it is not only okay to show how much your family means, perhaps we all have a responsibility.
Now, that said, as an artist, I accept this may mean different things to different families and that’s why I don’t think there’s a one-size-fits-all approach.
Some families may want a more traditional approach to family portraiture. Other families may want a unique commissioned art piece that represents their family in a unique way. Whatever the case, I believe, as an artist and a lover of humanity and people that everyone is extraordinary and deserves to be celebrated.
It’s a good thing. Celebrate you. Celebrate your relationships.