The Salesman Series Project came about when I painted a locket picture of my daughter as a gift for my wife.
Previously, I had worked in a much larger scale. When I changed format from paintings that were 48” x 48”, to such small thumbnail-sized works, the paint began to take on a life of it’s own. My role changed from being the orchestrator of a painting, to the one that captured the exciting moments that developed in paint.
As I envisioned the series, I decided on using nickels for purely practical reasons. Nickels are archival. They don’t oxidize, and they are the size that I was most comfortable working in for this project.
The genre, “salespeople”, was a was always something that I have been interested in. We all know sales people. My father sold plastic bottles, and vinyl faux wood coverings in the 80’s. I sold retail furniture for 8 years. Salespeople are enmeshed in our modern society.
Photographs of salespeople are a codified category. There are guidelines that are generally adhered to when shooting professional portraits (shoulder at a certain angle, confident smile, etc…). This gave me a baseline of what I wanted to come through in the painting, in order to consider it finished. At a certain moment, as I was moving around the paint, it would hit a point where the painting would become a vital object on it’s own merits.
Secondly, there are an abundance of “models” available to work from. If you Google “regional sales person” there is a positively wonderful wealth of faces, colors, and backgrounds available.
Painters often get stuck in a trope. They do the same thing over and over again since it’s comfortable. When I cut out a certain amount of proficiency, the dialogue changes between the paint and myself. I love the fact that I can mine these moments in this project. The limits of this type of model leaves these moments open to the freedom of the paint.