I have to admit, I never realized that the idea of commissioning an artist and how one would go about that would be a topic of discussion. Apparently I was wrong because I happened to stumble upon exactly that question and figured, if one person had the guts to ask about it, there are likely many more in the shadows afraid to do so.
First, what does it mean to "commission an artist"? Simply put, it's just paying an artist to do a painting of something, someone, that they want you to do. It could be anything, a pet, a person, a place, something that means something to them. That's all it is. And how do you do this? Well, these are the steps, and they're super easy and ensure a wonderful, enriching experience for both artist and collector:
1. Find An Artist: Check out several artists. Look at their work. See what they do. Determine whether their style is something that resonates with you. The style is critically important. Think about it, if you love realism and you commission Picasso to do a portrait of your dog, you, and the artist are going to end up frustrated and confused. An artist is not going to change his or her style of work to suit, it just doesn't work like that, nor should they. Just like you can't adjust your taste. Find a good fit.
2. Approach the Artist: Most, if not all, professional working artists I know have websites and contact details. Believe me, none of them are hurt by the possibility of paying work. Send an email, ask questions, we're happy to hear from you, this is kinda what we do.
3. Lay Out Details Up Front: Things like size, price, deposit, subject matter, must be determined up front. You're entering into a contract here. You're about to pay good money and the artist is about to put hours and hours of work, not to mention materials, into this endeavour. Certainty and communication is key.
4. Speaking of Deposits: Be prepared to pay a deposit up front. Sadly, the world isn't what is used to be and those in business, any business, can't afford to take your word for it. You may be the most honest, most wonderful person on the planet, but supplies and time cost money.
I've done several commissions in my career and I enjoy doing them. They give me a unique glimpse into my collectors, what they value, what makes them tick. The one above is Rihanna, a piece I did for a collector that was a big fan of hers. I'm going to add a page to this website just for commissions, but for now, here are a few others I've done over the years:
So, feel free, if there's something you've always wanted to see on canvas, immortalized by an artist, whether it's you, your kids, dog, best pal, a favourite city, treasured memory, whatever it is, don't be shy, ask your favourite artist about the possibilities, you may be pleasantly surprised. And as my mother in law always said, "you don't ask, you don't get."