A few years back i was comissioned by a really cool guy to make a monkey painting. I met with him and his wife to see their house and where the painting would hang. We had great coffee from his own coffee roasting company and we talked for a half an hour by the dinner table in their beautiful home.
Kenneth, the client, is a cool and carefree guy who's down for whatever so he told me he just wanted something cool. We said goodbye and off i went.
”Just make something cool” was very gracious of Kenneth. But easier said than done at first. ”What are they into?” ”What reflects them?” are some of the thoughts i had. I went through a bunch of ideas and sketches, all of which i really liked, but which one as the right one for them? I really struggled with it.
In the end i chose to keep it simple and just go with a cool character that embodied some of the vibes i got from Kenneth. He seemed to me like a person who liked to explore life and had success with his doings because he just followed his heart and took it easy. The exploring part was confirmed when we met to hand over the painting. At that point they had sold their house and the entire family were going on a 9 month trip around the world!
The character i created for the painting was a cool cat monkey that i envision is on an inner journey. hence the astronaut metaphore. All the while though he's in his bathtub chillin' most. Going places, following his soul while at ease and carefree. The 3D glasses he's wearing are a metaphore for the deep perspective he has on things.
His physical appearance is an eighties dude who's an astronaut combined with the imagery of this supercool funk monkey i had created earlier:
I liked this new inner space traveling character so much that he's become a regular fixture in my paintings and drawings. I simply call him the inner space traveler and as you can see below he gets into some stuff:
I owe Kenneth a lot of thanks. He let me create what i wanted, he was extremely patient with me while i got my act together and if it wasn't for his commission i never would have created this character who i've come to really like and who is an integral part of my universe.