What do you get when you take one engineering firm, a surveyor from the past, a look toward the future and a somewhat unwilling artist? Put them all together and you get the latest painting made especially for the fine folks over at Ackerman-Estvold Engineering and Management Consulting, inc.
This is a project that I am so pleased with!! Let me give you a little history. While planning a big move into a new office space, my friends over at Ackerman wanted to do something special for the transition of their company toward the future by honoring their past. It just so happened that the co-owner had come upon this old black and white photo of his grandfather; the 'original Ackerman' surveyor. While I had known his dad had been in this business awhile, I didn't know it stretched back another generation. Very cool...love the story behind success! I was asked if there was anything that could be done with this photo, whether it be a piece of artwork or a digital print. They just wanted something as a showcase piece as you walked through the doors of their new space. (and I think it's pretty special between father and son)
So, here is where I come in...sort of. Something of that magnitude makes me nervous. When it's very special to someone, I don't want to mess it up. It's why I never want to do any type of drawing or painting of a child or a pet...it's much too easy to mess it up. Plus, I would much rather be more free with my paintings. I enjoy abstract vs. realism and I didn't think I could find an appropriate solution. So, I referred them to a few different artists in town that I thought could be a lot more creative with it than I. Well, that didn't pan out and what they ended up doing was enlarging it and printed it on glossy paper after I re-touched some wrinkles and dust spots. They float mounted it on the wall with very cool round stainless holders. And it looks fabulous....and yet....I had been challenged.
I still wanted so badly to do something for them, because let's face it, they are just good people. I love good people. Good people make me happy. So, I in turn wanted to make them happy. The pressure was off...no one was expecting anything...so I went to work. And I was pleasantly surprised with the end result. I think the imagery is just loose enough. It isn't exactly as the photo was. It isn't 'perfect'. It's art! It's stylized in a way so it's the right balance between realism and contemporary. The black and white paint sits happily in shadows and highlights and blends just where it needs to. The hat of the man casts a shadow so just a hint of his face is there. It could be any surveyor. It could be an art piece for any surveying/engineering firm. But they know it's grandpa, right down to the red and white tripod that he once carried. And I hope that makes them happy.