Let's go back in time to Jack Nightingale Artworks in 2000. Actually a really great time for me there. Jack Nightingale Artworks was a division of a company I will call Sales Today. Sales Today mostly sold tee shirts.
All the art was done by myself and the other artists at Jack Nightingale Artworks. While the actual printing was contracted out to local screen printers. In 2000 things were doing well there. We were selling lots of tees at the national parks, the San Diego Zoo and also money was flowing in from our newest account Starbucks.
I had started as art director after my friend David had left the position to work in New York and I was busy but nowhere near the crushing kind of busy that was in my future. I'd recently bought a home and life was good. I was happy to be making a good living as an artist and I'm still thankful to the universe for granting my desire.
I was however a hired gun. In 2000 I was pretty content to just be that hired gun and shoot the hell out of whatever came up. I really put all my creativity and passion into my work and I always endeavored to make each illustration the best I was able.
This bison was done for a Yellowstone tee shirt design. Yellowstone was a frustrating account as they always bought only a few designs but we did tons of art for those few.
This guy was never actually used in this format on a tee but was recycled for many designs over the years. I am proud of the hand stippling on this bison. I used to love to stipple the different colors on animal designs because it always printed well.
I'm happy with this dragonfly. I created it at my home studio. It was printed on a tee for The Nature Company. A now defunct chain of stores that sold scientific stuff, Cd's and Tees. I was so happy they choose it but unfortunately it was printed super tiny on the tee shirts.
A "creative" decision made by the buyer. Many buyers loved to put their stamp on others work. My theory is that many of them were frustrated artists. That said I've known some awesome buyers that were a joy to work with.
These cats represented a break through for me at Jack Nightingale Artworks back in 1998. The cats were never used with these colors on a tee. I did these illustrations while Jack was on a golfing trip in Hawaii. Something he did often in those days when Sales Today's business was good.
I had only been at Jacks for about 5 months and was still getting used to the compromises a professional hired gun has to put up with. By this I mean my art getting changed and quite often just so Jack could put his stamp on it.
He came back from his trip and loved my cats but decided to have me rework them in muted grays and tonal browns. The end result looked pretty good and sold great but I still feel these brighter cats have more appeal. Being the hired help though I could only cooperate in the dilution of my originally stronger idea.
Making a living with your art is great but it comes with a cost. Sometimes the cost is minimal, other times it's devastation to one's core passion as an artist. If this price is paid to frequently an artist runs the risk of losing their creative spark altogether. Like a horse thats been rode too hard for too long.