'I had to create something more child-friendly,' they said. My frogs hoisting martinis, pouring wine, and toasting beer mugs were not appropriate for offices, family dinning establishments and hospital lobbies (the latter, I completely understand, the former, I thought they were being a little too peevish). Still, the attitudes of my public were not going to change, I had alter my work to fit into what they deemed acceptable. Thus began the impetus toward a new line of works, my Lily Pad Series.
I spent months trying to re-imagine all my drunk, sardonic, stoic, sad, & smiling bar squatting frogs. I started painting happy frogs, perched on lily pads, dressed in dapper clothing. I did not really comprehend the 180 my work had taken until people started buying the pieces as nursery gifts. In essence, I had successfully cornered two markets, those who had a proclivity for funky bar-art, and those who were buying art for a nursery. My Lily Pad Series was my saving grace in a community that was not quite ready for drunk frog paintings,
If you think that this sounds like I compromised my art to conform to public opinion, you'd be entirely right. I did that dreaded thing.
This forced me to explore beyond what I knew and what I thought I could do. It happened at a time when I was still unsure about pursing art; I was still defining myself as a hobbyist. The conservative crowd inadvertently catapulted me beyond frogs into an entire menagerie of animals, a step that might have taken much longer had my entirely unoffensive drinking frogs been deemed unoffensive. This change sent my profits rising, and brought the reality of becoming a professional artist closer into view.
Compromising a little allowed me to leap into being a full-time creative. So, Cheers to those who feared that a painting of a frog sipping a martini would tarnish their boring lobby walls or send families running from their restaurant!
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How Public Art Investment Benefits Northeast Indiana's Economy