My dad was visiting one day and we were talking about not much really when the topic of Tchaikovsky came up, and how he was dislike by his colleagues. We are all big fans in my family, I am not in love with his ballet pieces, but I am with his concerts. We were talking about the Violin Concerto, which is my mom’s favourite, and he said something like “He was not liked because that it is his only concert!” to what I immediately replied “No, dad, he did write other concerts, I have a beautiful rendition of his Piano Concerto!”. He then said (and I don’t know if this is a true fact) “Well, but you know…. That is the only one that he composed out of inspiration, the others were commissions”. I chuckled and answered “You have no idea how inspired I feel when I have a big pay check in my bank account.” He smiled “Yeah, me too”.
Sadly, there is a pervasive idea that the artist is only happy and truly a creative genius when is doing personal pieces, when there is no money involved, as if the Muse was prostituted to the client for money. I think I have written about this before, but nobody can deny the creative and technical genius of Michael Angelo and Leonardo however they too were paid to make some of their most memorable pieces. Not wanting to compare myself with any of the masters, I do find inspiration not so much in the money that I am being paid but in the challenge of bringing to realization the idea of the client, getting involved in the conversation that takes part when I am trying to get into their minds and be their hands to create a unique piece. Actually, I could say that some of my best pieces have been commissions. And while the payment does not necessarily inspire me in itself, it gives me the drive I need to keep going until completion instead of abandoning the work because I have another great idea, because I have n agreement to honor. I guess the money helps the over inspired artist to keep focused.