Have you ever went shopping and saw something that intrigued you, but they didn't have your size? Now imagine you could create that exact size you want and add your favorite colors to the design. As a regular consumer, it's difficult to achieve this in the fashion industry but you'd be surprised how welcoming customization is in the art industry. This is called commission art, which is when a buyer and artist come together to create something new.
When one of our customers noticed this print by Chicago artist Rawooh, they reached out and asked if a modernized hand painted version could be created. The artist agreed, a price was given and then a week later....
This piece would have never even been created if the idea of commissioning artwork was never addressed. You see, it's not just about the artists in our portfolio. It's about the majority of artists in general. Commission art has always been there, but it's not talked about regularly. If you look at what an artist has available, and don't see anything that's the right size but in general you like work, speak up! Ask about commissioning a piece, that's all it takes, just simply ask. After the exchange of a few words, there can be many questions in the air. That leads us into our next discussion.
Getting Your Worries Out of The Way
For the perfect commission to be created, there needs to be an idea by the customer that the artist is interested in creating. If the artist is regularly making commissions, they should be able to smoothly guide the process. However, some creatives avoid commission art all together because they've had a bad experience with an overly controlling person. So with that said, lets make it known that the artist is in charge here. The customer is there to spark an idea and to provide upfront input at the start.
The concern we hear most often from others is: What happens if I don't like the piece when it's done? Those worries can easily be avoided during the first conversation. After the idea is created, the artist should provide a sketch so you'll have an understanding of the outcome. If the artist has a strong portfolio of work, a deposit will need to occur before the sketch is made. This is out of respect for the artists' time and makes it known that the customer is serious about moving forward. After a sketch is made, a few adjustments can be mentioned. Those adjustments will go towards the final piece.
The commission above started off as just creating a piece that fit the open area on the wall. Once the customer realized they could have a say in the process, their eyes lit up. Chicago artist, Lymelite was selected for the project because of his ability to make these beautiful custom panels. By request, the zip code of where the client grew up was added, plus some personal initials. The final result created a deeper meaning between the artwork and its owner.
Less is More
The biggest mistake we've witnessed in commission work is when too much input is provided. If the artist is given too many suggestions, the results can be problematic. The last thing an artist wants to feel is stress while they're bringing someone's vision to life. So the conversation needs to stay upbeat with no adjustment requests while the final piece is underway. Remember you want your commission to be by the artist. If too many ideas are provided it can cause the art to look way different than their style of work. This can have a negative effect on the overall value of the artwork.
Commission work extends far beyond just wall art. Chicago tattoo artist and overall creative, Louis Barak offers commission work on luxury accessories. A high end, mass produced handbag or wallet becomes a one of one item with the help of a motivated artist. Similar to the commission process in canvas art, a sketch is provided so the final outcome is never questionable. With commission art, there are no boundaries in size or style. It can also eliminate the countless hours wasted looking for just the right piece. After all, why search for something perfect... when you can be a part of creating it.