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L y n n  C a r l s o n . u s
  Art Consultant
  Consultora en las materias del arte visual

Talk About An Art Commission

Established in February of 2005, ART TALK is the third Tuesday, monthly, evening discussion at Beans & Books on Harrison Street in Algonquin. 
August topic was Commissions: the Good, the Bad and the Really Ugly.  From the Experienced artists, one of whom had also commissioned an artwork, and underemployed artists were in attendance.  Here’s a summary of what we thought.

Commissions put money in the pockets of artists;  that’s good.

Commissions are very satisfying to the buyer gifting him or her with the pride of owning what they really wanted but couldn’t find previously. That’s good.

The piece often doesn’t turn out the way the buyer imagined it, this can be bad. We heard stories of disappointed buyers and frustrated artists. But—more often than not, the finished piece is better than the buyer envisioned.  Think Sistine Chapel! Very, very good. 

The commission is a partnership and it is work.  Allow time for communication. 

Buyer, get know the artist’s work.  Define and communicate what it is you want.  Spare the time to check the work in progress.  It’s not any easier for the artist to accommodate your visit than it is for you to spare the time to meet.

Artist, listen.  Ask questions.  Make suggestions without being condescending. Allow checks throughout the process so you can explain the direction the work is taking and, if necessary, alter the piece before you’re too far along. 

Buyer, defend the artist when the commission‘s been complete. When a would-be critic slams the art, they’re also criticizing you.  (Think Tony winning ART.)  Conserve the piece in the state you received it.  (No re-painting by anyone but the original artist to complement the new sofa.)  Remember the artist retained the copyright, unless there was an agreement to the contrary. 

Young artists—work!  Possible commissions are out there but people need to see what you do so they can form the trust the commission will require.

New buyers—get out there and see what and who is available.  Talk about an art commission with them.



Lynn Carlson, M.A., M.S.

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