Project: The Eye (of the storm)

A collaboration…commissioned surreal painting.

This was the first commissioned project wherein the client was a partner in the conceptualization and creative process on a much deeper level than before and hence, this painting is known as the original ‘collaboration’, as we later referred to all projects of this nature.

surreal painting by south african artist pieter van tonder titled 'the eye'

This was pioneering work and an amazing first time experience. What a huge, pleasant challenge this was! We succeeded to visually represent a rather difficult, initial concept.

It all started with a few phone conversations, discussing ideas and possibilities at length. This phase alone was already huge fun and certainly a fresh experience for both client and artist, who share the same name and became good friends ever since; Peter & Pieter, respectively.

Peter obviously had some idea of what he wanted, and Pieter had some idea of what he could do, but no fear and no doubt that nearly anything is possible. I started working on draft drawings and swiftly the concept took form.

Early days. But at least the canvas is covered.

The central idea was to place the protagonist in his very typical milieu: in the eye of the storm, tranquilly working away on his various projects whilst things brew and stirred around him. The challenge then was to bring in not just hints of a little breeze but to juxtapose the great Cape South-Easter which threatens to blow everything away, including his peace and the very concept of the painting itself!

Slowly but surely the illusion started to work!

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The two images above show a bit more detail deep into the final phase. The way the cobbles and buildings become ‘soft’ to warp with the folds was quite tricky. The last challenge that remained was to make the protagonist look like more himself.

Close up of the final painting.
Peter and Pieter. The original ‘collaborators’.
Artist and daughter, who spent many hours with Dad during this process.

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Please have a look at other similar collaborations:

Posted in Commissioned Works.