It is important to understand that commissioning a custom piece of art is a collaboration between you and the artist. It is a time for the artist and the patron to get to know one another. The steps for this process are as follows:
Familiarize yourself with the artist’s body of work and observe what draws you to it. Do you appreciate the use of color? The use of pattern and texture? The line work? Maybe you are drawn to the artist’s overall aesthetic? Perhaps it is the attention to detail in the works? Once you know what is drawing you to the artist’s work, you can better explain what you are looking to achieve. This is a very important step in getting your perfect commissioned piece of art.
Contact the artist and explain what you want to have made. You can describe your vision for the piece of art and incorporate what you learned during the first step. It is the marriage of minds here that makes the commission process amazing! This is a good time express your idea for the size of the piece, your timeline and your budget. If you don’t have a budget in mind, ask the artist what they think the project may cost.
Gather information for the artist. If you describe the space the art will occupy with great detail, you will have a better chance getting a piece of art that is perfect for you and your space. The description should include photos of the wall, or walls, as well as pictures from various vantage points in the room to show an even greater perspective. You could give the name of the wall color, as well as pictures of fabrics, wallpaper, rugs, furnishings, etc. The more information you can give the artist, the better.
Now that you and the artist know what you want, it’s time to get to the business side of things - the contract. The contract should include the agreed upon price and the expected completion date. This is also the time when the artist will expect a deposit to be paid. The deposit is a guarantee that you are committed to the project and is commonly non-refundable. The deposit is typically 50% of the agreed upon price, but this is something to discuss with the artist.
It is now time for the artist to create a concept sketch. The sketch is not essential and can hinder the artist, but can offer the client some idea of what to expect in the final piece of art. Sometimes the concept sketch will be done at an additional fee, but most of the time it is part of the cost of the project. The sketch will show the client a rough composition of the piece and an idea of color. The sketch can be a loose plan or very detailed, depending on what the client requests.
Now the commission can begin! The artist will start creating your new piece!
When the artwork progresses to roughly the midway point, it is acceptable for the client to request progress shots. These photos allow the client to see if the art piece is proceeding as anticipated. This stage in the process allows the artist and client to discuss the project further to avoid any complications late in the process of creation.
Once the artwork is completed, the client may want to preview the finished piece before delivery. Although some clients want to see the art before they meet it in person, many want it to be a surprise. Just a heads-up: photos are great, but they can never do a piece of art justice. There is no substitute for seeing your new piece of art for the first time, in person!
After the preview, the balance is paid and the piece of art is either delivered, picked up or shipped out.
Finally, the client receives their custom artwork! The process continues as the client admires their new piece of art and dreams of a future collaboration with the artist!
Scott Dykema is a fine artist, muralist and illustrator based in Texas. His highly energetic and jubilant works range from the abstract to studies of such diverse subjects as animals, Native Americans, geishas and angels.