Last week I read an article about commission art. The title was simply “Commissions”, but the topic immediately piqued my interest because, of course, I am a commission artist. While I typically don’t care for “How To”, “Improve This”, “What You Should Do”, “Pricing Your Work”, etc. type articles, there are rare occasions when someone actually does have something beneficial to say. So I clicked through.
The very first sentence immediately put me off.
“Many artists dislike doing commissions.”
“Ah, so that’s the direction this is going to go,” I thought. But thankfully, the author wasn’t on a crusade to bash commission art. He listed some positive reasons for accepting commissions, offered a few tips and advice on what to do/what not to do, as well as sharing his own personal criteria for creating this type of art. But there were certain things he said (things that are apparently common thought among many other artists too) which made me want to go on the defensive a little bit.
He explained that the main reason a lot of artists shy away from commissions is because the inspiration for the piece isn’t theirs — it’s the clients. He also posed the question: “Can you maintain your artistic freedom and integrity while doing a commission?”
Happily, his short answer was yes — but with a bunch of caveats. Some points were good, others I didn’t always agree with. Continue reading