Friday, February 20, 2009

Why You Should Buy Art Friday: Commission Work

One thing that can be a murky territory for art patrons is requesting a custom piece of artwork to their specifications. Many customers do not realize that a lot of artists are willing to work with you to realize a creation that is tailored to your specifications.

This could be in the form of requesting a similar piece to one you saw hanging in a show that was sold, to having a portrait painted of someone you hold dear to your heart. Often I have requests from clients who collect a certain subject matter or who prefer one style over another.

Usually when I am approached to do a commission piece there is a discussion (usually via email) about subject, size, medium and deadline. Photos of possible subject matter may be forwarded to me from the client or I may do my own research on that topic. From those pieces of information, I will come up with a rough sketch and a price. I then send a quote (good for 30 days) and a watermarked jpeg of what we've discussed.

At this point, my client may accept the quote, make a deposit and work will commence. Or else, they may decide that there are further details to explore. This could range from a size or budget adjustment to tinkering with the composition. There may be a back and forth until everything is decided then we proceed.

I have found in the years that I've been doing commissions, people love being involved in the process. I enjoy taking snapshots of the work in progress to keep my clients in the loop (I also enjoy sharing these steps with my readers in my "On the Easel" segments). I have heard time after time how my patrons have enjoyed watching their painting unfold over the course of a few days or weeks.

Once we reach a point of having most of the details down, I submit an image for my client to view. We discuss whether or not things are "almost there" and I process the feedback and see if there are any adjustments needed. I then finish the piece and wait to receive final approval.

Once this is said and done, I submit the final invoice and upon payment, ship the completed piece via the preferred method of delivery (shipping is paid for by the client). Depending on how soon they require it, that could range from Canadapost to Fedex overnight.

I enjoy taking a clients dreams and making them a reality - I think things have gone well with this over the years. I have a number of patrons who I have developed great relationships with over a number of paintings. Commission painting requires a form of communication that goes beyond purchasing a ready made piece.

Hopefully I've taken the mystery out of this process for some of my readers - this has been a description of my own personal approach to commission paintings. Other artists may have a different routine, if you are ever interested in whether or not they do commission work - drop them a line and ask what their process is. You may find that you have the beginnings of a wonderful partnership!

If you are interested in commissioning me, please do not hesitate to contact me here.


Joanne said...

Thanks for letting us have a peek at how you"do business"! It is always helpful when another artist reveals their way of developing relationships with their clients. :-)

Michelle said...

Thanks Joanne! That is payback for your awesome brush rescuing technique!

These WYSBAF segments are (hopefully) about my experiences in the artworld - I'm not so much looking to profit (although that helps) as I am trying to explain the big picture.

If this helps other artists (such as your fabulous self) then all the better.

People reading this - go check out Joanne's stuff and commission a piece! :) Buying art is good!