Spotlight on Arsies !
When Martin asked me to write a few lines about me and my work as professional painter focused in commissions for companies, I must admit I felt little bit overwhelmed.
Well let me start for the beginning. If anyone doesn’t know me (and it’s not hard as I don’t use to move so much in forums or well, outside my own blog), My name is Javier González, I’m Spanish professional miniature painter since 2008 more or less… and let me say “more or less” as I started as something close to a sizar for another painter’s studio.
I think most of the professionals have a semi-professional stage that could be from several months to several years, depending if they want to do it as living or they just have another job. In my case I was plumber and self worker, and when crisis started my business crashed so I started to paint full time each day trying to survive.
I started working with Jose Manuel Palomares from who I learned a lot, but after a while I decided to fly alone. I closed my connections with forums and other painters for some months to reach my own painting style and started to paint commissions without external influences. Was hard at the beginning as I was slow painter and usually jobs were poorly paid, but nobody said that beginnings are easy.
At this point I opened my own blog which gives me today almost all my customers. Near 380.000 visits till now. I shared most of my works there and at last after a few years working hard to make a name, to reach a quality level and to earn a serious reputation I can say that I can work of my brushes almost all year and sometimes I have 3 or 4 months of waiting list.
But you are reading this to know how is the miniature world behind the scenes, not to know about me aren’t you?
Well, usually the idea is that professionals works almost all the time for companies. Well maybe there is one or two, but at least in my case, private collectors are the base of my work. That doesn’t mean a brand never ask me, but first of all you should know that there are lot of small brands outside trying to survive and nobody is going to be rich because of that. Usually the small brands earn just enough to live and they deserve respect because they work very hard, but usually they can’t afford a first line painter for their miniatures, and top brands usually have their owns on staff so don’t need freelances like me.
In those cases a brand bet for my work, I know that they are doing an effort, and they know that I’m just trying to do my best, so it’s very strange to have troubles. Usually everyone is very happy at the end.
Summarizing I can say that artistic work is never a problem, everyone is an expert in what they do, so sculptors don’t need much more than a concept and painters usually don’t need more than a few lines with the global idea, digital designers just need to crop the pictures and add a great background and everything is quite pretty.
So, really which are the problems of being professional? Well, I can say without doubts that is the bureaucracy. It’s funny to explain your accountant what in hell are you doing, but isn’t as funny when your accountant need to explain in the tax office and nobody knows something as easy as sign up your studio to work legally.
Later you have to pay lot of money in taxes, need to do lot of papers, usually local laws are not friendly with international ones. And believe me, I have lot of international customers! And we do something “artistic” so there are special laws that could be applied to us, but you can apply only if the bureaucrat shift understand that, and everyone has his own opinion because in deep, nobody f them understand our work!
At the end this is a vocational work, people that work in the hobby do it because they love it.
So please, next time you think about asking a commission think that painter in the other side of the email just want to do for you the best work as possible, and he’s going to break his heart just to put a small piece of it in your miniature. He’s going to work with love and care during weeks looking at every small detail just trying to make all perfect.
Do you know any other job where people try so hard to make you happy?