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Commissioning a Piece of Art: Everything You Should Know

Commissioning a Piece of Art: Everything You Should Know

If you’re someone who has already had work commissioned for you in the past, you’re probably already aware of the process. But for those of you who haven’t, I’m going to elaborate on the process of having an original work of art commissioned for yourself. This is particularly for those who have been wanting to do so for a while and are finally ready to take the first step!

Photo of A Smiling Man and Woman At An Art Gallery

Everything You Should Know:

If you are looking to commission a work of art for the first time and are not sure where to start, here’s how you go about it.

The Artist

The first thing you want to do is choose an artist who you wish to commission. Keep in mind that every artist has their own style and capabilities. To get a good sense of the artist’s style, visit their web site and check out their previous work, like artist Adesina, or any other artist you have in mind.

However, sometimes what’s in an artist’s portfolio, isn’t all they can do. Many artists, especially those just starting out, or who don’t make art full-time, just haven’t yet had the opportunity or time to create work in all the styles that they are capable of. And your commission might just be the chance they were waiting for! So feel free to contact the artist, if you see that they have work that you like, even if it isn’t exactly what you are looking for. This is particularly a good idea, if their existing work is more complex or requires more skill than perhaps you require.

A good example of the above, is a realistic artist who has mostly highly detailed, realistic paintings in their portfolio. If they don’t have a lot of pieces, and/or it looks like they are just starting out, it’s possible that they would like to explore other, simpler/looser styles of painting, but just haven’t done so yet. Or perhaps they already have created works like that, but simply haven’t posted them up on their site yet.

Another good example, is if perhaps you are looking for a sculpture of your pet, and you find a sculptor online who has done a few really great sculptural busts of people. More than likely, if they can realistically sculpt a human being (hair included of course!), they can probably make something beautiful of your furry pet as well.

photo of a drawing by Adesina, artist, of a girl and her cat Drawing of a woman and her cat, by Artist Adesina

In cases like these, get in touch, send them an email, and just ask: Would they like to do something in the style of, or in regards to the subject matter, that you are looking for? Do they have any relevant samples that are not on their site yet, that they can share via email? In many cases, the artist will be happy for your interest and inquiry, and even if they can’t create what you need, often artists can recommend colleagues who can. Take advantage of their network and recommendations; you might find the perfect person, without having to do endless searching!

Once you find an artist whose work and style you appreciate or connect with, then you can move to the next step.

How they Work

It helps to connect with the artist you wish to commission, and find out if they do commissions to begin with. Further, different artists have different work parameters or boundaries. There may be some that appreciate a little direction, and others who would rather you left the art to them.

Figure out what you prefer, and find out if the artist and you are on the same plane.

In my studio, for example, I always ask that the client provide images of the style, indicating the level of detail, as well as the level of realism or lack thereof, that they are looking for. Clients can pick from my online gallery at Adesina.com, or they can just Google general images, and send me the ones they like.

Man And Woman Looking At A Painting

Something to Work With

You will need to give the artist you commission some information, even if they are the independent sort. Things you might want to consider include what you’re looking for by way of size, preferred shades or colors, as well as themes to work on (if that is an option).

Giving the artist a sense of what you’re looking for will help them proceed to create the work you want to see.

Monetary Particulars

Once you and the artist are on the same page about the work you’re commissioning, the artist will quote a figure. Typically, you will probably need to pay them part of the figure as an advance for materials and initial payment, to begin your commissioned piece.

Sessions and Coordination

If you’re having someone do a live portrait of you instead of from photos, you’ll need to coordinate and schedule sessions and sittings where you model for the artist. Make sure you pick an artist who isn’t too far away! Unless of course you want to make a trip of it — perhaps a vacation/portrait-painting-trip to New York City?

Final Payments and Receiving the Work

When the artist finishes working on the piece you have commissioned, you will be asked to make one last payment. This will probably be the balance remaining from the quote provided when you began the process. Once this payment is made, voila! You have your first commissioned piece of work!

Conclusion

As you can see, commissioning a piece of work is fairly easy if you have the resources. It’s finding the right artist that’s key to a great outcome. But by taking the first step and just reaching out to an artist that you like, they may be able to help guide you to refine your project idea, and to find the right artist for you, even if they can’t help you out themselves, saving you lots of time and energy!

If you want to commission and own your first personal piece of art, feel free to circle back to my webpage Adesina™ | Artist. I’m in the midst of preparing for a solo show, but I’m still accepting select small commissions (black and white drawings and small sculpted heads) thru the end of 2018, after which all commissions will be available again! You might even find something you like in my collection of affordable art prints, ceramics and sculpture. Alternatively, get in touch and let’s talk about what you’re looking for – I love to help!

– Adesina, Artist

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