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The Joy of Commissioning Artwork: A Guide for Art Collectors and Interior Designers

Updated: 2 days ago

Commissioned Art in Room
Tonya Trest "Cavernous" Encaustic and Hand-Made Papyrus 30" x 40"

Hello dear art enthusiasts!

Commissioning artwork is a truly wonderful experience, offering you the chance to own a unique and exceptional piece that you and your family can cherish for years to come. By following a few simple guidelines, you can ensure this process is enjoyable and successful. Let’s dive into the key aspects of commissioning a work of art through an artist or art consultant.

Commissioning a piece of art allows you to collaborate with an artist to create something uniquely you. Unlike purchasing a ready-made artwork, a commissioned piece is tailored to your preferences, space, and vision. It's a deeply personal way to celebrate your taste and create a lasting legacy.

Finding the Right Artist

The most crucial step in commissioning art is finding an artist whose style resonates with you.

  • Research and Explore: Look through galleries, online portfolios, and social media to find artists whose work you admire.

  • Connect Personally: It's important to connect with the artist’s style and vision. The right artist will be someone whose work moves you and who you feel understands your aesthetic.

  • Meet and Discuss: If possible, meet with the artist in person or virtually. Discuss your ideas, preferences, and expectations to ensure you’re on the same page.

Establishing a Process

Agreeing upon a clear process from the start is key to a smooth and enjoyable commissioning experience. Here are some important elements to consider:

  • Initial Consultation: Begin with a detailed discussion about your vision for the artwork. Share your inspirations, preferred styles, color schemes, and the space where the artwork will be displayed.

  • Timeline and Updates: Establish a timeline for the creation of the artwork. Agree on regular updates to track the progress. These can be bi-weekly check-ins through studio visits, phone calls, or virtual meetings via Zoom.

  • Revisions: Discuss how revisions will be handled. Make sure to clarify if there are any additional charges for changes outside the initial design. Clear communication about potential revisions can save time and prevent misunderstandings.

Budget and Payment Terms

Commissioned art comes at a premium compared to pre-existing pieces. This premium reflects the additional time and effort the artist invests to create a piece tailored to your vision. The price will include consultation time, check-ins, home visits, sketches and mockups, and customization.

  • Budget: Be upfront about your budget. Art commissions can vary widely in cost based on size, materials, and the artist's reputation. Discussing your budget early helps manage expectations.

  • Deposit: Most artists require a non-refundable deposit, typically ranging from 30% to 50% of the total cost. This deposit secures your place in the artist’s schedule and covers initial material costs.

  • Final Payment: Agree on the terms for the final payment, which is usually made upon completion of the artwork.

Shipping and Installation

  • Shipping Costs: Consider the cost of shipping, especially for larger pieces, as it can add significantly to the overall price. Discuss these logistics with the artist to avoid any surprises.

  • Installation: Plan for the installation of the artwork in your space. Professional installation might be necessary, especially for large or complex pieces.

Professional Commissioned Art Installation
Tonya Trest Commissioned Art Installation

Commissioning Art from a Gallery

If you find a piece of art at a gallery that you love and wish to commission something similar, it’s important to work with the gallery directly rather than going straight to the artist. The gallery will collaborate with the artist to bring your vision to life, ensuring a smooth process and respecting the artist-gallery relationship. Here's why:

  • Expert Guidance: Galleries have extensive experience in managing commissions and can guide you through the process efficiently.

  • Artist Relationship: The gallery maintains a professional relationship with the artist and can ensure that your commission aligns with both your vision and the artist’s style.

  • Quality Assurance: Working through the gallery provides a level of quality assurance and professionalism that benefits both you and the artist.

Collaborating with Interior Designers

Commissioning artwork as part of an interior design project can elevate the overall aesthetic of your space. Here’s how to effectively work with interior designers:

  • Unified Vision: Interior designers can help you select an artist whose style complements your design scheme. This ensures the artwork enhances the overall decor.

  • Professional Coordination: Designers handle logistics, from initial concepts to final installation, ensuring that the artwork fits perfectly within the space.

  • Harmonized Aesthetics: Designers consider every element of the room, including furniture, lighting, and color schemes, to ensure the commissioned artwork harmonizes with the interior design.

Cherishing Your Unique Piece

Once the artwork is complete and installed, take the time to appreciate this unique creation.

Commissioning art is not just about acquiring a piece but about the experience of bringing a vision to life with an artist. This collaborative journey often leads to a deeper connection with the artwork, making it even more special.

By following these guidelines and fostering a good relationship with your artist, gallery, or interior designer, commissioning a painting can be a delightful and fulfilling experience. You'll not only gain a unique work of art but also a story and a memory that you and your family will treasure forever.

Click here for an example of a standard artist commission information request:

Happy commissioning!

Tonya Trest


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