How can I find a decent portrait maker for under $1000?
September 27, 2004 8:52 PM   Subscribe

I would like to give my mother a pastel portrait of my grandmother as a gift for my mother's upcoming milestone birthday. However, I'm having a very hard time finding an artist who would create a quality portrait based on a photograph, despite having a well-regarded art college in my home city. Everything I look at looks more like a portrait that would win a prize at the county fair than something I'd want to give as a gift. I'd like to spend less than $1000.00 US. Any suggestions?

I should note that my grandmother passed away nearly ten years ago, thus the need to do the portrait from a photograph. I'm also willing to concede that I might be unrealistic on price, but I haven't found anything that would be suitable, at any price.
posted by anastasiav to Shopping (5 answers total)
I've e-mailed you about a painter I know
posted by croutonsupafreak at 9:28 PM on September 27, 2004

Dave Archambault was just recently mentioned on Metafilter. He does his work with a bic pen, but man check it out! It's so realistic... it's just amazing work.
posted by banished at 11:13 PM on September 27, 2004

This may not help you, but for those who get a chance to got to Chiang Mai, Thailand there are some incredible artists who do black and white, incredibly detailed portraits from a photograph-and do them incredibly quickly-a day or so, I think. They were located in the night market, in the permanent building-I think, on the ground floor, but they shouldn't be hard to find.

And the price is VERY reasonable.
posted by konolia at 6:53 AM on September 28, 2004

have you been to the art college? i don't know how things will work, but they may have exhibitions and/or you may be able to chat to a tutor who will be able to point you to a suitable student.
i have no idea about prices in the usa, but that would buy you a decent work by a local artist in the uk or chile (we've paid 500 dollars max for original art from students and the like), but i've never had anything done to order.
also, check out local galleries for work you like in other media - you might find something good you'd never have thought of asking for (and you're really restricting things by saying it has to be pastel). on the other hand, i guess you're trying to get something you know your mother would like. perhaps an alternative would be to get the photo enlarged and framed. if that was done well, it could easily eat a large chunk of your budget and be really nice.
(we got a group photo of the children (us) for my parent's ruby wedding from a place that someone here suggested and that was a huge success - if anyone from that thread is reading, thanks!)
posted by andrew cooke at 8:34 AM on September 28, 2004

It's a thing in Mexico and amongst Mexican-American families to have big framed paintings of loved ones created from photographic originals. I asked my mom about this once, and she said people would just take a photo to a shop across the border and have a painting in a few days or a week. I imagine the cost would be relatively low.

This probably won't help you much though.
posted by lychee at 12:13 PM on September 28, 2004

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