From time to time clients ask me about the possibility of commissioning a piece of work - something specific. How do I feel about accepting commissions? Years ago I would have said 'No - I hate commissions!' - and that was the truth. I hated the idea of having to please someone else's expectation, what they had in mind. I'd sweat over the idea, flounder over what to charge, hesitate over showing the piece, and generally feel bad about the whole proceedings! These days, I have learned something quite different. 🙂
I'd like to outline here how the process of commissioning works with me.
Firstly, I think it goes without saying that any commission I undertake would have to fit into the general feel of subject and interpretation in my work. Having said this - also feel free to push me beyond what I might have, up to now, accomplished. . . but please not photo-realism!
Secondly, it is much better for me to be given a loose guide as to what you want from me, so I don't feel my hands are too tied - therefore stunting the freedom of expression my work is known for. Neither of us would want that, I'm sure, You would probably not be commissioning me if you hadn't let your imagination run with things you've already seen me paint. But feel free to indicate the overall feel you have toward colour and form - and definitely size/shape, etc.
How it Works
1) Email me with your idea - what you think you'd like from me. Is there a wall space to fill, and something you have in mind? Tell me what kind of size, and the rough shape you want. Be more specific if you want - or just loose. Tell me the general subject matter - it will likely be either a specific or a rough location.I say location, as landscape is my thing, as you know. ( I can do you a portrait of your pet if you like - but would either of us want to own it? 🤑). Let me know if you have a time-scale for us to work with. Maybe it's for a specific birthday or occasion? Providing the timing isn't too tight for me, I'm always willing to work with that. We can agree on it together during the initial stage.
2) I'll give you a price once we establish a rough (or specific) size/shape. If acceptable, then you can pay me either on completion of the commission, ready for it to be sent out - OR by instalments, as agreed in line with my Art on Easy Terms Scheme. The piece is then released on completion of the payment scheme.
3) I shall then get to work on several pieces that match your description. It will be at least three, maybe several more. I do this because I want you to have some choice. I can then feel unencumbered by any sense of having to fulfil expectations in one specific piece. The pieces you don't choose I will then market as my own - which they are!
What You Pay
This is where it gets interesting . . . you might think you would pay more for commissioning a piece from me, but in actuality you pay considerably less than the price tag for that piece on a gallery wall! (Depending on size, it could be as much as 50% different.) How come, you may ask? Well, from my business point of view, I don't need to market the work, as you are agreeing to buy it, (or at least in theory - we'll come to that in a mo.) Secondly, it introduces my to new places of inspiration to paint - where I can get enthused. Thirdly it gets me out working - rather than stuck in the studio, which is my line of least resistance. And finally, it provides me with a number of other salable pieces to exhibit and sell in due course. So, from all perspectives - it's a win/win all round!
Your Guarantee of Satisfaction
This is most important to understand:
You have given me an idea that I have pursued to the best of my ability. Ok. But you are under no obligation whatsoever to purchase the piece! I really mean that. The last thing I want is cash in my bank (or my hand) from a client who isn't absolutely delighted to own the piece s/he has bought, but has felt obliged, as it was commissioned. I'd much rather find someone who will be delighted to own it - or maybe use it myself to abstract and create something anew. (This is how some of my best abstract work has evolved - by taking older pieces that didn't quite hit it - and reworking them.)
So, you have up to thirty days after receiving the piece to decide if you can't or don't want to live with it. And that's true even if you've paid for it over a period (up to 12 months), waiting for it to be released. I think you'll agree, commissioning me is not such a daunting prospect? So please feel free to throw me your ideas, and we'll see what we can do together.