BEHIND THE SCENES OF ANURADHA THAKUR’S LATEST COMMISSIONED PAINTING
How does an artist translate the concept for a custom painting into a tangible work of art? What is that same process of commissioning artwork like for the client? I recently wrapped up one of the most challenging and satisfying commissions, a large-scale painting by contemporary Indian artist Anuradha Thakur for a new client here in the Bay Area, and I wanted to share the behind-the-scenes steps and considerations of the process.
Typically, when I receive a request from a client for a commissioned painting by one of our leading Indian artists here at Laasya Art, the client has already fallen in love with an existing painting and wants to simply re-interpret the same scene in a different size, color or other specification that would better suit their home. But in this case, while the client was drawn to Anuradha Thakur’s vibrant style, she wanted the artist to create something that she had never painted before.
First, I wanted to learn the client’s artistic taste and get a feel for not only what she liked — themes, colors, motifs — but also what she didn’t like. She was not only new to Laasya but also fairly new to collecting art, and this was her first commissioned piece. She was understandably nervous, as she didn’t know what to expect from the process. After looking at some of Anuradha’s existing paintings and discussing the client’s favorite elements of each, I asked her to describe her vision. The painting would be hung in a prominent place in her home, on a dining room wall visible from the entrance, so she wanted a high-impact work of art that would instantly delight visitors. She explained that her ideal scene would feature women dancing in union, each adorned in ornate jewelry and full of joy, like when a peacock dances in the first rain.
Once the client and I finished hammering out some of the remaining details like the exact size of the canvas, I called Anuradha to give her the brief. When I am explaining a client’s idea and specifications for a commission, I always want the artist to feel excited about making this idea their own, and at the same time I need them to truly understand the client’s needs. It is times like these that I am thankful for my experience in advertising in Mumbai, where Unilever was our client and known to be one of the most demanding and discerning marketers in India at that time. I learned how to stay true to a brand’s core values while still thinking creatively and encouraging innovation. Understanding the client is important in creating fine art commissions, but understanding the artist’s creative process is also important — understanding both sides is invaluable as a gallerist.
I could tell Anuradha was growing more and more excited while we spoke about this particular commission. Her energy and inspiration were palpable, and she told me that she was already brimming with ideas just over the course of our conversation. A few days later, Anuradha sent me a line drawing on an A4 sheet of paper, and right away I could tell it was spot on. The composition expressed pure joy, and I knew it would be even more exquisite in full detail and vibrant color.
I showed Anuradha’s initial sketches to the client, and it was a go. We mostly deferred to Anuradha on decisions regarding color, although we did make sure to send her several photos of the space where the painting would hang. There wasn’t much natural light in the room, and we didn’t want the painting to feel too dark. Anuradha is known for her gradient backgrounds that span the rainbow from very dark to very light hues, and she assured us she would take the dining room’s low lighting conditions into consideration.
A few months and many photographic updates later, the painting arrived in the US, and we installed it in the client’s home! Measuring 4.5 by 10 feet, the canvas was so large that we actually had to rent a U-haul truck to transport it across town. Once we had hung it in the living room, I took a step back and soaked in the energy that the painting exuded. Wow — it is hard to capture the heartwarming feeling in words, but it is one of the most beautiful and exuberant paintings by Anuradha that I have ever seen.
If you are interested in learning more about commissioned paintings, read our past blog on “how to” commission a custom painting. I also encourage you to visit https://laasyaart.com/anuradha-thakur/ to browse our collection of art for sale by Anuradha Thakur. If you would like to make an appointment to see her work in person at our Indian art gallery in Palo Alto, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or +1 650-770-9088.
— Sonia Nayyar Patwardhan