I have a powerful story to tell. As an artist, I normally create paintings issued from my own fantasy, with probably the unconscious hope that they will touch somebody’s else fantasy and perhaps even lead to a sale one day.
Many years ago, as I moved from Germany to Spain, I founded an art business with a group of international artists, with, attached to it, an art school. The main goal of the business was to paint on commission. Here is how we wanted to sell the idea:
“We all have the deep desire to create a personalized work of art. This can be a portrait of a loved one, a painting of your favourite landscape, an artistic representation of a dream or an abstract idea. This can be a personalized copy of a famous painting or a photograph: your wife as a Mona Lisa or your husband as The Laughing Cavalier! It could be a personalized scene from a film or a book; your son as Harry Potter, your fiancée as Marilyn Monroe or your friends as the Famous Five, or the Beatles! Or a surrealistic montage of your preferred elements… Or any other fruits of your imagination. In other words, to visualize artistically everything that real life impedes us from seeing. This could be a painting of your house here or your house in your native land or the house where you were born, or a painting of your friend´s new house as a house-warming present. It could also be a scene of a landscape that you like particularly, or a panoramic view of a famous place, and we will paint the person you want within these scenes. It could be almond trees in blossom…Whatever… we will paint it!”
The business worked well, but I always noticed that people had problems to find their own ideas, to translate their dreams and wishes and visions in words which we could then visualize into a painting. They needed much help, too much. It cost us too much energy to try extracting the dreams from our client’s sleeping consciousnesses. Eventually we gave up and most of the time, the commissioned works were normal portraits, people and pets, and houses. It was very frustrating for me, I was missing the creativity, which was meant to be the core of the business idea.
Well, the other day, I had a wonderful surprise. I received the following email:
Ever since I was very young, I have carried a small piece of paper in my wallet with the following quote:
Bullfight critics, ranked in rows,
Crowd the enormous plaza full,
But only one is there who knows,
And he’s the man that fights the bull.
That quote has been very special to me over the years, so I would love to have a painting in my office with that quote and a representative scene. I found your painting Toroscape 43 and it is nearly perfect. The alertness of the matador, the intensity of the bull, and you can almost feel the lock between the two. The one thing that’s missing from my quote are the rows of critics.
Would it be possible for you to change the background of Toroscape 43 to a view of intense “bullfight critics”? Also, I would love to have my quote artistically overlaid onto the painting…”
This request reminded me so much of my old business! Of course I accepted to try to do the job, a little bit worried though about how to embed the intense row of critics. But well, I did it, and my client loves the result, a Toroscape I called
“The Man Who Fights The Bull”
Somehow I was very curious. I sensed that there was a powerful personal story behind this request, and I asked my client. He was so kind to tell me, and also to give me the permission to make this blog post about it. I reproduce his answer here, which really gave me goosebumps as I read it.
“… My story actually doesn’t have anything to do with bullfighting, but I love the meaning behind the quote. In college, I was a boxer and won the heavy weight Golden Gloves. I always loved reading about other fighters, so I read ‘A Fighters Heart’ by Sam Sheridan. That is where I first read the quote. “Bullfight critics ranked in rows crowd the enormous plaza full” to me means that there are a lot of people who criticize or speculate what can and cannot be done – who will win the fight, can a 20 year old kid start a company, etc etc. “But only one is there who knows and he’s the man that fights the bull” to me means that the only person who can actually determine the outcome is the “man fighting the bull”, not the critics. This quote struck me as this is exactly the way my family raised me to think, so I wrote it on a piece of paper and have carried it in my wallet ever since as a reminder. As a boxer, an engineer, and entrepreneur you’re very often being told what is and is not feasible, but you’re really the only one who determines what is truly possible. The book mentions that JFK also carried the quote in his pocket…”
Isn’t it a wonderful lesson for life for us all? And for me personally, the weird thing is that it is exactly the way I lead my life.
With the story and the customized painting being so personal, I did not want to sell prints to other people at first. But my client was so kind to say that he was ok with me selling it if people really like it. So here it is, available in many different sizes, as Giclee print on Fine Art Paper or Canvas, or as Acrylic or Metal print.