Commission work isn’t always the greatest thing. First off, there is the aspect of painting something that limits the artist creatively. Sometimes that can be fun, and I always enjoy a challenge. But I can tell you that I have done commission work in the past that i would sooner have stayed home for. Next, there is the monetary issue. This almost always ends up being a problem as people don’t like to take us seriously and fail to realize that our vocation has taken years and years of learning and refinement. So many of my former customers have resorted to the barter system at payment time that I now tend toward opening that dialogue on the initial communication. And finally, there are the ungrateful hosts. These people want everything in a very limited time and with absolute perfection. Again, the result of ignorance of the work that goes into most serious artistic endevours (especially when it comes to graffiti).

What I have to tell you about now is a total 180 from everything I have come to expect from commission work.

The project was to paint 8 55 gallon drums and 8 tabletops with spraypaint for a tech outfit called DAYCINTECH which stands for Dayton/Cincinnati Technical Services. They work with a lot of vocational schools and the like, supplying and servicing their various technological and digital training needs. They do numerous trade shows and make various appearances both local and abroad to show off their work and to gain new clientele. The drums go with them everywhere and carry the names of the companies they work with in bringing this technology to their customers.

After arriving and a few communications glitches that left me staying in what has to be the rattiest Motel 6 in the world, I reached the guy I had been talking to for months about this thing(his name is Dave) and he led me to the hotel he arranged for me to stay in (Marriott….soooo nice) and fed me breakfast before we went down to get started on the project.

Contrary to what we had planned, I knocked out the whole thing in a day(things came up that made it have to happen that way) and got to work with what has to be the best customer I have ever travelled to work for. The folks at Daycintech are the most hospitable and easygoing people that I have run into in a long time. I got to the site, the drums and tabletops were all primed and ready. Dave kindly introduced me to the staff there and I set off to work. I was given not only the complete trust but also 100% artistic freedom to do the task at hand. This man fed me(if you’re ever in the Cincinnati area, I suggest you try Skyline Chili) and kept me in coffee the entire day while coming out, not to check my work, but to actually make conversation and talk! The same goes for the staff. Great folks and genuinely interesting people.

After around 10 hours of crouching down behind these barrels(reallllly feeling the results of that today), the mission was complete and Dave seemed more than satisfied. We took care of payment and all was well. I hit the Marriot and was on my way home.

The reason I put this post in so much detail is that Dave and his friends were everything a commissioned artists dreams of working with and that needs to be said. The hardest part about working what is essentially a hobby into an actual paying venture is dealing with customers and if all of them were like this, I would have no problem jumping wholeheartedly into doing this for a living.

There still remains in this society people who appreciate graffiti art for what it is and aren’t looking to trap, destroy, or exploit it in any way. These people don’t necessarily want letters on canvas or to bring the street into their living rooms for some kind of novelty. They actually understand the fact that there is an experience behind what is being presented to them and want to gain knowledge about things that they haven’t done or can’t do themselves. Plenty of up and coming writers and even some established ones will complain about “selling out” and all that nonsense and for those that commercialize it, this is very true. But some of you may want to keep in mind that what we are doing on those walls and trains is an expression of a life that America needs to see. We “Bomb the System” because the system has forgotten us. We attack because at one point in history we were being neglected and cheated by society. Now that things are different, are we still attacking for the right reasons? Or are we attacking for the sake of doing so? There is a place for us in the regular man’s world believe it or not. It is not a sin to paint legal walls or canvases. It’s when money becomes the only motivator for our actions that we really have to look inside and consider whether or not we are holding onto and passing the proper tradition of graffiti art.

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