In all honesty, I have not encountered very many projects in my professional career that required me to work with other stakeholders. As an art teacher, I am left alone at times and not required to work with any district assessments or common planning since I am the only teacher to teach the classes I have. It can be frustrating not being able to work with others that teach the same class, but it is also nice to have the freedom to create projects around my student’s needs. Instead, I will look at a personal project that I worked on which revolves around my professional career.
Last year I was commissioned to do a painting from a person who saw some of the prints I donated to a local charity. I usually do not work on commissioned pieces because of time and the demands some people possess. After meeting with the client, we determined that he wanted a very large painting of Michael Jordan showing emotion. I was very excited about this since my last Jordan piece went over so well. After I found an image and altered it using Photoshop I brought it to my client. The client seemed very excited about how I altered the image and was ready to move forward with the painting. The client was very adamant about me sending him weekly progress photos of the painting. I was a little concerned about this since as an artist I felt it was too controlling. I started the painting and it wasn’t a few days into it he sent me some new photos of Jordan to consider. I was dumbfounded by the emails since we already agreed on the image. I quickly sent him what I had completed so far and he seemed happy once again. Another week went by and more photos of Jordan came my way from my client to look at. At this point, I was almost halfway done with the painting and didn’t know what to do. I decided it was best that I meet with him to make sure we were on the same page. After we spoke in person we both seemed better about the painting. A few days later I receive an email about the painting and his thoughts on starting over. It was at this point I lost all motivation and decided to cut ties with the commissioned piece.
There were several lessons I learned from the project. First, I need to make sure the client is 100% certain of the concepts I will create. Possibly adding a contract during this initial meeting will help me gather deadlines and liabilities while the client ensures this is exactly what they want. Second, even though I had heavy communication with the client during the time we worked, it solidified that this communication is paramount in any project. Achong stated “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” and I couldn’t agree more (Laureate Education, n.d.). If I did not communicate with the client I may have wasted more time working on a painting that he was ultimately unsure about.
I never would think of looking at scope when being commissioned for a painting. However, this is exactly what I should have done. Scoping the work with a client would allow me to define what the customer wants, consider prerequisites, or in this case, alterations, and the technical requirements. (Laureate Education, n.d.) Overall I learned a great deal about myself in this situation. I made some mistakes, but mistakes are just a way for me to learn what to do if this situation happens again.
Below is the painting partially completed. I leave it in my room at school as a reminder of what could happen the next time I agree to take on a commissioned piece. Last week I decided to start working on it again, which sparked the reason for using it as my example.
Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). Defining the scope of an ID project [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu/webapps/blackboard/content/listContent.jsp?course_id=_4856561_1&content_id=_18049942_1
Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). Practitioner voices: Overcoming ‘scope creep’ [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu/webapps/blackboard/content/listContent.jsp?course_id=_4856561_1&content_id=_18049942_1