The second of two opera poster paintings created for Opera Naples, I posted the first, Faust, a few posts back. I'm fairly happy with this one, it's pretty darn good, not epic good but pretty darned.
I thought I would spill the whole unromantic truth about this painting but first, the perception: my people were contacted by the Naples Opera to produce a new piece of art for their upcoming season, they had some money but it wasn't enough for the likes of me so I said no, no I'm sorry, I'm busy getting some deep tissue work done. They called back offered more, my agent accepted and I tossed them a sketch. It was marvelous, of course, they applauded over the intercom and after some haggling with my agent and a lawyer on the rights and usage of this piece of history, we agreed on terms and I went to work. We hired a model, my stylist, Sarbon, went to the prop store and bought the appropriate attire (gold card). Sarbon and I flew to New Orleans, ordered a mask from a fine shop in the french quarter and had chickory coffee. We found a few extra girls from a local underwear store to hang out in Victorian garb and gently sway back and forth, singing sweet siren songs. My 4,000 ft studio was cleaned by my assistants assistant and we had mohitos and bread and fruit. I hired a violinist, Joshua Bell (heard of him?) to perform one of the opening movements from this marvelous opera and, once the light was just right, I cried "Huzzzah!" and moved like an english ninja across the floor. I made sweat. It took 4 weeks because I used my own painting hand as a model ( it IS beautiful) and had to memorize it so that I could paint it... backwards.
Now for the reality.
They called and asked how much, I said $350 for the use (I'll sell the original someday), they said mmmm okay but that's a lot (non-profits). I gave them a break on the second painting. There was no model, I found a face on the googles that I liked, found a mask that I photoshopped into place, made up the clothes, the girls and finished it in two days. I had a beer or two in the process. There was no bread or fruit. My music was from Pandora. My studio is about 250 square feet in an open warehouse with dust and spiders. When it's hot, it's friggin hot and when it's cold, it's friggin cold. I'd kill to have a cleaning person. Or any kind of person.
Ahh the life of the artist.