Choosing original artwork for your home is a wonderful experience and not as elite or unattainable as you may think.
With today's access to the Internet many artists are avoiding the high commissioned worlds of galleries and self promoting and selling. Meaning you can much more easily make direct contact with an artist you admire and deal directly with them.
So I've laid out a few steps that I'd recommend you consider when commissioning a piece of abstract art and things that I do to aide this process.
Now I would advocate paying attention to your local art scene. From open studios, shows, art fairs, independent shops to a good ole Google or Instagram hashtag search (I like to use #surreyartist #hampshireartist in my posts) there's lots of places to find what's going on in your local art scene.
Going local firstly supports those in your area which is undeniably valuable but it also enables a closer bond to build between artist and client because you can actually meet. I for one think its advantagous to meet in person and see the home of the client. It helps give in insight into taste and how your work will fit into a space.
Once you find an artist you like and choose to discuss a commission. Check on the artists website to see if they accept commissions, some don't. But don't be afraid to ask if they don't mention it.
Once established if they work to commissions its important to analyse why you like they're work.
Now you don't need to and perhaps shouldn't have an exact plan of how you want a piece to turn out. Many abstract artists (myself included) don't have too much of a plan before commencing work. I work intuitively and am led by the effects I get from the paint, but knowing what a client does and doesn't like influences that hugely.
Sometimes describing abstract art can be difficult so here's a few things and words to consider when deciding why you like a piece.
Cool, warm, bright, dark. Subtle or loud. Clashing or harmonious. Is there particular colour you love, or one you'd cut out.
Thick paint, rough texture, metallic, smooth, drips, scratchy, brush marks, pen details, graphic lines or block colours.
Where is your eye drawn to and why. Does your eye get led through the painting. The ratio of the canvas (square, long etc).
Pattern, detail and shapes.
Heavy pattern, lots of layers, empty space, distinctive shapes, angular or soft.
Calm, joy, energy, suspense, drama, meditation, escapism, memories.... Etc.
Use these points and any more you can think to discuss why a piece or an artists work captivated you.
3. THE COMMISSION
Agree the terms and pricing and expect a written copy of this. Obviously this is different for every artist (we don't have a code to follow) and much is based upon an artists desirability and process.
Practicals to think of...
Consider whether you'd like us to frame it.
Discuss if you have a strict time frame or an expectation.
How will the piece be delivered.
How will the piece be finished and hung.
What's your budget and is there flexibility on this.
Communication and an honest relationship with your artist are key. As remember you hiring not only this person as an artist but also as a business owner. So credibility and trust are paramount.
I like many artists ask for a 50% non refundable deposit upfront. The rest is due upon delivery of the piece and my general lead time is 4-6 weeks.
Trusting an artist to deliver your vision is tough and it's important to keep an open mind and communicate.
Let's talk about the ugly stage.
I don't like to share my commissions to early in the process. That's because I build up my work through many layers of paint and seeing it too early can lead you into thinking your piece isn't going in the right direction. Many pieces also often go through the 'ugly' stage before they are pulled together into a harmonious piece.
So If I can advocate anything, it's once you've choosen an artist have faith and trust in their abilities. This is why communication and an understanding of why you like their work is important to understand.
5. REDUCING RISK
This is a bit of a personal one, but I'm sure other artists do similar things to ensure a successful outcome for a commission.
Ensure a proper consultation takes place, with plenty of questions and investigation into what is liked and disliked. Plus a view and insight into the home the piece is going into.
With abstract commissions I work on two pieces simultaneously. This benefits both myself and the client. For you it gives you the choice of two paintings and for me it gives the freedom of two canvases and takes the pressure off one piece.
I'll update you throughout the process but only when I know the pieces are going in the direction of how they will look like when complete. I will show you photos of the stages to get to that place and my plans for future progress.
Upon finishing I will invite you to look at the pieces in your home to decide which piece you'd like to keep. If your piece is being framed I will take the piece away then, finish and frame it and deliver it back.
So far Im proud of a 100% success rate of clients loving their art however if for whatever reason you decide not to take one of the pieces you are invited to to use 40% of the deposit you've paid against another piece of my art work or against Cedar's Yards services. The other 60% of the deposit is lost as money against time and supplies. You are not liable to pay the remainder of the original quote.
6. ENJOY & CELEBRATE
This is what artists live for, to see their work being enjoyed as part of someones home. To know its there and brings something unique and special to a client.
So please I implore you to celebrate, shout about, review and publically thank so they can keep doing what they love to do.
"I've always been drawn to Cedar Yard's work and recieved some vouchers for their artwork for my birthday. I decided to commission Emma to do a piece for a newly decorated room in our house. Emma took the time to visit our house and have a chat about what it was we wanted and how it might fit in with our decor. She promptly got started on two versions of what we discussed and kept me informed throughout. I was delighted with both paintings but felt particularly drawn to this one in particular. I think the whole process took 3 weeks and I'm delighted with the result. The colours used really lift the room. Thanks Emma!"