What if You Were the Client?

Some Do’s and Don’ts in Commissioning Artists

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You’ve toyed with the idea for so long, you can’t really keep it to yourself anymore. Your mom’s birthday is coming up, and you’d like to commission an artist to paint an image for you. It might be a picture of her dog, your kid, yourself, your role-playing character, your dead grandmother, a character in your novel – you see, it doesn’t really matter what you want painted, there’s someone out there with the skills and the talent to fulfill your vision. But commissioning art isn’t the same as going to a store or even to the hair salon. If you’ve never hired an artist before you may be unaware of how it works, or the best ways to handle the situation.

 

As a client, you need to have a sense of respect for what the artist does.

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DO research and find an artist who works in the style and medium you prefer. If you’re pretty clear about what you want and you think you’ve got it all figured out (your mom’s portrait in oil, for instance), then do the follow-up work and look for artists who do projects like this. You can also narrow it down in terms of budget; how much are you willing to spend for it?

DON’T expect the artist to read your mind. This is probably one of the more common misconceptions about artists. Other people think that they can just throw any vague idea then the artist will just translate that into some breathtaking piece of artwork. Far from that. Artists need good input from you, especially because this is a commissioned work.

DO treat your artist professionally and with respect. Always remember that on a realistic level, it’s the artist that has the skills necessary for your goal. It’s not like the artist is just doing this for your money. With the awareness that you’re the one in need, remember to regard the artist with a high level of dignity.

(Bonus tip: you can get inspiration for the art work that you from previous travels, such as your memorable Amsterdam holiday. Maybe, just maybe, you’d like that Amsterdam City Trip painted. From there, you can try researching for some good pieces which you’d like your artist to draw tips from. That way, you won’t just help yourself in determining what you want; you’re helping your artist, too.)

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