With everything becoming more globalised, and shopping more accessible than ever before, having a one of a kind anything has become the latest desirable trend. With sites like Etsy and the growth of local artisan markets, emerging artists have entered a whole new marketplace with more and more clients seeking a beautiful piece of work only they can call their own.
Commissioning art comes in all shapes and forms. Whether its a city mural, a canvas piece or a sculpture, it can be an exciting time for both the client and artist.
My journey as an artist began with commissioned work and remains to be the most fulfilling. When someone puts up artwork in their personal space, their home or office, it is an expression, an extension of who they are and what they stand for. Bringing that to life for my clients has offered the most rewarding experiences.
So for those looking to get a custom piece from an artist they love, here are a few tips for you:
Know what it is you want… or at the very least, what you don’t want
I have had clients share with me only their fondest memory, and I have had those who have given me a plethora of parameters. If you have an empty house with blank walls and full flexibility, know what it is you don’t like whether it is the style of work (i.e graffiti) colours (i.e neutrals) or even medium (i.e watercolour, acrylics, mixed media, etc). Show the artist some examples of art work you have seen online that you really like. As a start, I will usually show photos of previous work I have done, and ask what elements are most appealing (i.e bright colours, metallics, dimension, etc). I then like to get to know the client, that’s when personal insight becomes inspiring (i.e Pinterest boards, hobbies, items they cherish, etc).
Consider your space
There are many who lust over the large scale, contemporary canvas but does it make sense in your space? If you are happy with the current decor in your home or office be sure to consider it when consulting with the artist. If you are wanting to re-decorate, communicate the tone and feel you are hoping your space will offer. This is important insight and consideration for the artist.
It can end up being heartbreak when finding out your beautiful new artwork is too big, or too small for the wall/area you want to hang it up on. Whether you are looking for a focal piece, or to add to a wall collage, be sure the artist is aware of the placement. The best way to do this is to invite the artist into your home to see for themselves. They will then be able to best consult/advise on what would look best.
Know how much you are willing to spend
The last thing you want happening is having to look at your artwork in resentment for how much it ended up costing. Be transparent with the artist on your budget so they can work with it. Costs of custom paintings are typically based on the size, level of detail, materials, and (value of) time spent. It is important for expectations to be managed for both the artist and the client so while it may not be the most comfortable discussion, it is indeed a very important one.
Agree on payment
There is no right/wrong payment schedule or method. I typically ask for 40% upfront and the remaining when the piece is completed. Be sure to also agree on method of payment. Some artists may only deal in cash or cheque while others use systems like Square to accept credit cards.
Trust the artist
Some clients I’ve had have been very micro-managing while others, more lax. Some artists are happy to share the progress of their work, while others (like me) prefer to wait until the piece is complete. Be sure to communicate what your needs are and the artist should do the same. I for example, send photos once it is complete and if there are any requested adjustments/changes that are manageable, I am happy to tweak from there.
Enjoy and endorse!
Having a custom piece of artwork in your home makes your space truly your own. In commissioning that piece, you have also supported an artists career and in turn, the art community. So when someone walks by the artwork and compliments it (which of course will happen!) be sure to endorse the artist, and share your experience. “The Earth without art is just Eh” after all!