Buy Art: How to Commission an Artwork


Buy Art: How to Commission an Artwork

A personalized artwork, created especially for you by a favourite artist, is destined to become a prized possession. People commission artworks for many reasons: to have oneself or a loved one honoured in a portrait; because they want a fine art portrayal of a home or special place; because they like an artist's work, but would like something in a different color or composition; because an artwork they like has been sold to another buyer and they'd like a similar artwork for themselves; etc.

Artwork commissions are very common amongst contemporary artists. Feel free to ask a gallery or an artist if a commission is possible.

Here are some tips for commissioning an artwork:

Type of Artwork: Decide what kind of artwork you want to commission: painting, sculpture, photograph. If you're commissioning work from an artist who works primarily in watercolour, you can certainly ask if she's willing to try acrylic, but you should assume that her best work will be in the medium she's chosen.

Budget: Review the prices of works you're interested in. A commission by artists will generally cost the same or slightly more than one of their typical artworks. You'll likely see what you're able to afford fairly quickly. That is, if a well-known artist is out of your price range, perhaps an emerging artist can meet your budget.

Find an Artist: If you don't have an artist in mind already, art agencies, art dealers and galleries are good places to start your search. The internet is a great tool, but if the artist isn't affiliated with a gallery you can contact, make sure you're confident of the artist's reputation and trustworthiness before making an investment. Consider aesthetic qualities of the artist's work, but also the artist's ability to listen to your ideas, understand what you want the piece to look like, and then to collaborate with you in the creative process.

"Meet" the Artist: Once you've found the artist, meet (or have a phone call) with the artist to begin discussing the artwork, offering the artist as much information as possible about what you're looking for.

Make a Plan: Develop a detailed brief with the artist including the following: what the piece is for, the size of the piece, the format and composition of the piece, etc. It's important to communicate clearly at the beginning of the creative process, as well as during the project, so that the end result is satisfactory for both you and the artist.

Sign a Contract: Draw up and sign a legally-binding commission contract before the work begins. It should cover designs, payment schedules, date of completion, shipping and installation agreements, plus conditions for termination of the contract. Ownership and copyright clauses should be clearly defined.

Make a Schedule: Set up meetings to review early sketches and mid-way progress so that you and the artist can make sure the project starts out on and stays on the right path. Be honest about what you think. You're paying for this service, so don't be shy about asking for what you want. At the same, be sure not to inhibit the artist's creativity in an effort to control the project.

The Final Product: Examine the final piece carefully before giving your final approval. Make sure there are no last minute adjustments to be made.

Certificate of Authenticity: The artist should provide you with a signed Certificate of Authenticity, with date, artwork details (medium, size, etc), and her statement certifying the piece as being created by her.

Enjoy your new artwork!!!