Commissioning a piece of art
People who ask me to make a piece of art for them, tend to fall into two camps: Camp 1. You like a piece I've already created but want it bigger, smaller, wider, a different colour, etc. Camp 2. You like one of the styles I use to create my painting, and want a version of that style, but more specific to you. What's the difference? Camp 1: the commissioned piece is a close replication of a piece I've already created that you may have seen in a gallery or online. You, the commissioner, would know the end result is going to look very similar to something you've already seen. Camp 2: the overall outcome of how the commissioned piece looks is unknown but the style, is known. Both could be perceived to be risky, and although most clients will tell me they trust me to 'do my thing', there's understandably a possible gulp-factor involved when making an investment without seeing the end result, as is the case with Camp 2. I'm going to show you what I do to ensure that clients feel in control and part of the process, but first let's look at examples of the two camps I've talked about.
Example of Camp 1
My client saw this Of Sand and Sea piece on the gallery wall. It was 51 x 61 centimetres and £140, but they needed it to be larger at 60 x 80 centimetres.
Knowing this style is popular with our gallery on the coast, I created two new pieces for my client to choose from. Due to the size increase the commission was £200, and the piece my client didn't choose, has since sold, win-win!
Example of Camp 2
My client liked the colours and painting style in the Of Sand and Sea pieces (again, those shown in Camp 1), and wanted me to use that style to create a piece that incorporated their passion, competing in triathlons.
They wanted a long thin canvas to go in a home office space 152 x 40 centimetres. They also liked a neon coral colour I use in my work, and wanted that to keep the piece fresh, and add contrast.
They didn't indicate a budget, nor had anything similar from which they could go on on my website at the time, but were happy with the price I suggested using a premium quality canvas.
This is the piece I created for them. As you can see, it's "in the style of' but a completely new design and piece. Left to right, it depicts: swim, bike, run. The coral pops are subtly woven throughout as are a few other details that meant something personal to the commissioner.
Step-by-step guide to commissioning a piece of art
Get in touch and let me know what you're looking for. Give me the size, and don't be shy about telling me your budget! Feel free to send any photos or visuals that convey what you want to see.
You'll then get an email from me confirming back to you what you've asked for along with any options of canvas to fit your budget.
I'll also give you a lead time.
Once we have the brief clear, you will need to make half of the overall payment.
I'll then start work and get your commission to a place whereby there's enough for you to see and get a good feeling of the direction. I'll get in touch and ask if you'd like to see a photo or video talking you through the piece.
At this stage, you'll have the option to ask for small detail amendments or special touches to finish it off. I'll then incorporate your requests and get the piece through to completion.
Once completed, I'll get in touch again with a photo or video of the final piece and, providing you're happy, will ask for the remainder of the full payment.
We'll then arrange to get your brand new commission delivered to you!
The Next Step
Get in touch and let me know what you want to commission.
Are you Camp 1 or Camp 2?
What size does your piece need to be? It's worth looking at the next section for a few other things you may need to consider.
If you're Camp 2, then as many specifics as you've got, let me have them. If there's something you definitely don't want to see in your piece I need to know that too.
If you have a budget in mind, let me have it. Too often we Brits can get funny about money, but there's really no need here. If I can't fit your budget, I'll let you know what other options you have!
Things to consider before you commission a piece of art.
Are you going to want your canvas framing?
Not everyone is aware that you can have canvases framed. Many canvases don't need a frame, others benefit from the structure of a surround. Ordinarily, I paint on chunky canvases, which means they can go straight on the wall and look great from the get-go. Two reasons to consider whether or not you're going to want your piece framed, affect the size and cost. SIZE If you think you may want a frame at a later date, you'll need to take the frame width into account. Search up 'floating frames' to get an idea or talk to a local framer. COST I will always encourage having a commission made on a premium canvas. As I often say, there are canvases, and there are canvases! If you know you're going to want your commission framing at a later date, it means I can create the piece on a non-chunky canvas which usually means it's less expensive. It will still be premium, but you'll get more surface area for your money! Of course, if you're unsure, go chunky.
It is always going to go on that wall?
Some of us... we like to change our minds and move things around in our homes with varying degrees of regularity. If that sounds like you, then it's worth taking into account the measurements of the alternative space (s) you may want it for.
Let's talk about heat and moisture.
If you're planning of hanging in a bathroom, kitchen, or over a radiator, it's worth knowing the risks. The canvas you see at the front, is stretched over wooden bars, at the back. Being a natural material, wood it can behave like nature... unpredictably!
Heat and cold makes things expand and contract. Moisture, as we know, also can make things... like the cloth and wood of a piece of art, behave in funny ways. Hang a picture in a stable-temperature bathroom and then throw in the sudden steam of a piping hot bath in there... all that moisture is going to settle on whatever it can!
The area you're planning on hanging your investment in, ideally needs minimal fluctuations in sudden external conditions.
Where would you like it signing?
As you may expect, I sign all my work but have only recently begun to ask commissioners where they would like that signature to be. Usually, I'll sign on the back but after a small poll on Instagram discovered that on the front is still preferable to some people. If you're commissioning, you can have it wherever the heck you like!