Commission an Artwork

Christmas saw the production of two large scale artworks for clients in the North West.  Both were created following a period of development, which included discussions with the clients about their needs, over an extended period, a series of small scale samples to investigate the colour, form and texture of the commissions and a visit during the production of the work.  The works were both around the same size, but involved a very different approach to making.

The first was more free and flexible, allowing creativity and then focussing in on the composition, colour and texture to fully meet the needs of the client – for a large artwork extending up a stairwell from the half-landing up to the ceiling of the upper landing.  He wanted an artwork to complement the re-decorated hallway and to reflect the muted and calming colours, providing a focal point whilst moving from one area to another.  A slim, tall canvas was created to accentuate the movement up the stairs and draw the eye up the stairwell to the first floor.

The second client specified very distinct requirements in terms of colour, but was flexible about size, texture and the finish of the artwork.  We walked around the space – a living space of approximately 8metres/ 4metres – and discussed the function of the artwork.  To demarcate the space and provide a focal point the client wanted something to bring a long empty white wall into use.  She also has the benefit of a 7th floor apartment and the beautiful views over the North West’s city scape.  We decided to create a mirror of the letterbox windows overlooking the city with a chunky box canvas – 700mm x 2m in size.  The colour red was important and fitted in with the city theme – with lights penetrating up towards the skies and some vibrant colours emanating from the sunsets on the horizon.  From here I developed a series of sketch drawings looking at the different options, including different textures, colour combinations and focus points.  The client visited my studio to discuss and I then went on to develop a sample, which I took to her apartment to check that she was satisfied and ready to proceed.  From here I went on to create the whole work, using a combination of acrylics, mediums, gels and varnishes to create a vibrant and evocative city-scape.

How long does a commission take?

These commissions took different lengths of time.  The preparation work was the key to ensuring that the clients were satisfied with the result.  It involved emails, phone calls, informal discussions to get to know the client, formal discussions about an specifics required and of course, discussions about the cost of the work.  An artwork may only take two days to create, but could involve hours of additional work in the form of planning, trying out new materials and techniques, preparing the canvas, coming back to add layers onto base coats and then coming back to varnish.  It becomes a labour intensive process, but one which is wholly satisfying when the client takes delivery and sees their work mounted perfectly.  It’s a good feeling to get to that stage and to feel that you have really produced something that the client can enjoy and appreciate – a meeting of two minds – a collaborative approach to commissioning work.

If you are interested in the process of commissioning art works, please call or email me and I will be happy to discuss.

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