S_V_H Bach BWV 988 – Aria image1

AriaBWV988_Image1aAlong with a Waylon Jennings artwork I am also working on a second painting that will be hanging in the Grand Bach Hotel in Kyoto, Japan.  This new artwork will be another Johann Sebastian Bach work, BWV 988 the Aria from the Goldberg variations. And like the first work I sent to Japan in 2014 the owners are again very particular about the look of the art that decorates the hotel.

My first artwork for the Grand Bach was a lesson in compromise over creativity.  For that work I was given general color, with style direction,  along with a small early painting I did called Crossroads to use as my guide. As the artwork progress the client would politely asked me, through their intermediary, to makes changes from the updated images I sent them. When I finished the painting for the Grand Bach,  and sent the final image the owners where not pleased. They requested that I repaint all the green colored areas out of the work before shipping. I said I would not, for I had finished the artwork  (oh I was so young and naïve then). I offered to give their money back. After some discussion instead of compromising my artist vision (silly boy) I offered to create a new artwork in an incredibly short  week (I would never do that again).  Here are the two original paintings I created for the Grand Bach in 2014. Both artworks are 86″ in length x 56″ :

This is the second version that hangs in the Grand Bach reception area, Bach BWV 1065:


I am standing in front of the original Grand Bach painting that now decorates my studio. This is Bach BWV 1014:

Bach&Me Looking at the Grand Bach website today, which at the time was not available for the than new hotel,  I can easily see that the color green did not fit in with the Grand Bach Hotel decor. I should have painted over all the green with some boring brown or rust, whatever they wanted, but that thinking is now, and not than.

This first image of Aria I have submitted for approval.  By agreeing to their terms of reviewing my progress I am knowing  dampening my creativity, and basically  creating an artwork based on acceptability.  This all seems counter to my artistic philosophy, but these two artworks for the Grand Bach Hotel in Kyoto Japan have been a valuable opportunity. They both have thrown me outside my little predictable artist world.  They both have forced me to develop new problem solving skills,  and both of these projects are an awakening when it comes to excepting commission works.

After submitting that first image I heard back from my intermediary who requested to totaling change the colors for the artwork, going contrary to their earlier preferences. Here is the updated first image, which is far different from their original color requests.  They ignored me when I pointed that out.  Out of frustration I finally ended up repainting the entire first image, losing two days of work.  I sent the new image.  They thanked me for making the changes,  and requested a new image when I started placing the music.


I think it is somewhat odd that no one involved with either Grand Bach project even offered,  requested, or asked me about the Bach music that I chosen to portray.  I have given them wonderful Bach musical works, but for all practical purposes I could have given them Elvis’s In the Ghetto, and just told them it was Bach at his best.  Maybe I can save Elvis for a future commission projects as my cynicism, and artist confidence matures.  Overall, that it seems to me,  that their only concern is that the artwork matches the decor of the hotel like on the other decorations.

For all the rest of us that care about the music we like and not how it looks, here is the Bach BWV 988 Aria.   My artwork for the Grand Bach Hotel is the first 25 seconds,  played exceptionally by the eccentric Glenn Gould:

Scott Von Holzen