This is the first article, of many I hope, which makes it rather important to me.
I would like to dive straight into what has been my bread and butter for years, my artistic practice. For me, the subject of art commissions is one of great importance – painting according to the customer’s tastes, choices and demands… the mere concept of “the commission” is as old as the art itself! In art’s history there are centuries worth of examples of the practice. However, those examples are not what I would like to write about today. I would like to focus on sharing my process, which has taken me years to develop – based on my experiences, I have tried and tested many steps – old and new – with a few mistakes along the way to get to where I am right now.
In my humble opinion, the process of creating an art commission should be based on very active communication, almost a collaboration between the artist and the customer. Getting the customer involved in almost every part of the process.
Firstly, agreeing on the sum for the deposit. As an artist, you have to make sure you won’t be left out half way through the process without security that would at least cover the materials and/or some or your time. I have made this mistake so many times before after already ordering canvas, frames etc. I forgot to mention, it confirms that not only the customer, but that the artist is committed to the project. In some cases, writing a contract with more detailed conditions i.e time frame, materials, cancellation period etc. could prove beneficial.
It is absolutely essential to talk to clients about the subject and the reason for the commission, in as much detail as possible – it usually gives me a good idea about what elements to keep in mind when it comes to the painting – The details could be anything, from symbols, to the title (you might need to come up with one) and if you want to make it personalised.
Before starting the actual painting, I always prepare a few pencil or charcoal sketches to make sure that the client can clearly see my vision. I can choose their favourite composition or angle. Soon, after deciding on composition, it is so much easier to discuss the preferred colours or perhaps any changes that, if any, should be made at this stage.
I also believe that it is beneficial to send the customer photos of the progress of the painting. This way, I always make sure that the customer is 100% happy with the final piece. After all, that should be the ultimate aim at the end of the day!
Let’s not forget that it’s nice to know that the commissioner/commissioners took part in the creation themselves!