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Why I do what I do

This website will give you a glimpse into my work as an artist,  community builder and activist. I have been negotiating the world through the lens of a creative entrepreneur for the last two decades. It's been a wonderful journey with a lot of learning and collaborating with people I deeply respect.
In the coming years, I believe that creative thinkers will be crucial to document, stitch, hold and present the world. We are at the very edge of collapse on one side, and of a future that can spin out into unimaginable wonders on the other. I believe we can get to the happier side by working together!

Lesson learnt. Thai mural project – no go

August 25th, 2008

So, heres what went down with the mural project girls.
Because this was such a big project – (the restaurant walls I was working with were about 46 feet across and 16ft high) which translated into lots of money, and free advertising! I decided I really wanted to get this job. So, I did a lot of the legwork for free – well, all the leg work.
I spent time researching coral reefs, islands, fish etc. – a lot of time I might add. Also, I did up the sample board for free. The sample board was done so that I would get an idea of what the wall would look like. All I had to do after that was use a grid system to transfer the little painting onto the wall.
I showed the “boss” everything. He loved it and gave me the go ahead. And then came the money part! I told him I needed 50% upfront – which is what is recommended – (if any of you girls get commissioned for this kind of thing). I was charging him $10600. This included all the materials that I had to buy, as well as renting the scaffolding for a mth. I gave him a deadline of 28 days. Working about 5 hrs a day. About $80 an hour.
Anyway, the guy wanted to pay me $2500 every two weeks, which wouldn’t have covered paint, scaffolding etc, and I thought best to decline, because I was sure I wouldn’t see anymore money
after I started.
Also, the guy probably got cold feet.
Lessons learned – I’m glad I did the sample board, because now I know I can work outside my “niche”. I gave it my all, and stressed and worried if I would be able to pull it off. And, I did. I was able to research, and put together something so completely different for me, and all under a deadline!! I’m also glad that I didn’t do the project under anybody else’s terms.
Some people charge a fee for sample boards. IN this case I decided against it, as it was more important for me to try and get the job first. I also thought it would be a great experience for me – which it was. So, no regrets with that. One thing though, I did get a little carried away and bought some stuff that I would only use once I started the actual mural.
The big thing that I realised with this whole thing, was that I could expand and do murals- not just easel painting. So, I’m working on some drawings for two murals for my own home sweet home!


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  • Pooj – this seems to have been a learning experience for you and us through you!!

    I can see how the thai restaurant owner got cold feet when pay time came up. Coming from the Indian market – I for one now wouldn’t do the work without the 50% up-front payment. I made this realisation when I was in the design area some time ago. I often ended up with only that advance payment being met :( i am super glad that you stuck to your guns.
    Way to go girl! And trust me anything that you put your all into will reap benefits when the time is right. That experience of research, and plotting of a huge piece will give you the confidence to take on a biggie when it comes your way (and it sure will).

  • I agree with you arch! All of this is great experience, and I certainly feel so much more ready to take on anything big that comes my way! Hey – how fantastic if we could collaborate on some huge project!!Wow!
    You know, its still so sad to see that people are still so hesitant about paying money for original art. I mean why are there only a few serious investors? And they go for the big names. People need to come out, and appreciate art, and what artists do. I cant tell you how many fools I deal with on a day to day basis who want to bargain with me about buying my pieces, or basically treat it like a whole joke. This attitude really tires me out, and makes me seriously stop communication with anybody outside the fricking art world!!

  • ahh I know exactly how you feel. But hang in there. I do believe that this is a crucial time in the history of the humankind. I feel that the world is opening up, willing to share and collaborate across boundaries of geographies, cultures, languages and race…
    I noticed this feeling that was inherent amongst the artists of germany, china and the mixed bag of folks from Indian, Pak, Sri Lanka, Australia…the list is endless.
    Its kind of like the open source movement or the wikipedia wave. Shared info free of the ties of money and corps…its happening around us, amongst us. Artists are the fore-runners of a society – the avant-garde as it were. It is only natural that we feel the way we do, and begin to look for ways to change, retort and move away from the constraints of the established order. And now technologies like the internet makes all of this so much more easy and so possible no…
    the next decade will be great to watch – changes and new modes of thinking, sharing and reacting to the world will be used by folks like us to make sense of who and what we are. Just keep going da :)

  • right on arch! well said1:)