How commissions can take you in new directions

Morning Marsh View - Ft. George Island, FL - 108 x 30 Face-mount Acrylic Some artists avoid commissions. They feel that catering to an external requirement somehow interferes with their "art" or message. I totally respect this position, and sometimes I feel that this serves the artist well. I tend to do well with some direction. Maybe this is part of my engineering background, as I am more comfortable with structure and results-oriented tasks. Recently I was asked to provide a large piece similar to the style of artist "x" with a particular color in the foreground to match a wallpaper sample. I was happy to take on the request. The required image was out of focus and abstract. I knew what techniques I had to use, and where I could make the image. When a fellow artist saw the wallpaper sample on my desk, he asked, "What's this?" I explained my project, and he laughed out loud, "I can't believe you are prostituting yourself!" I was very curious about his response, and did some thinking about my reasons to do the work. I saw it as a challenge and a way to expand my skill set. I also saw it as a paying project and something I would be proud to say I created and was capable of doing. Nothing in the assignment violated my values or compromised my artistic direction. So I carried on and basically ignored the comment. The client was thrilled with the result and complementary on how accommodating I was to work with. I think some artists forget that many of us create art to satisfy purposes external to ourselves. Whether this discounts my stature as an "artist" or  degrades the work, I don't know, but I'm happy that everything worked out for everyone.