I love doing commissions for people. It’s a really good way for me to continue to do art and make money. Yes, I love creating something that I have dreamed about or imagined coming to life. Creating things for my own enjoyment, as well as others. I love that feeling when someone sees my work and loves it so much they want to take it home with them. It’s a really good feeling and I have one less painting I have to store. But if I am being honest, most of my business comes from commissions.
A lot of people like my work but either don’t have the money to buy one of my originals or it wouldn’t go with their home. This is where commissions come into play. People who know of my work and styles want something similar but match who they are a little better. I know some artists that refuse to do commissions because they think it devalues their own ideas or makes them compromise too much. I can understand this but for me, commissions provide a way for me to do something I probably never would have created by myself but still have enough of me to matter. If I was just doing all my ideas, then I would eventually have less and less to create. I would get tired of making all the decisions in a piece.
When someone comes to me and pitches an idea they have for something, whether they are more specific in their idea or have very little idea about what they want, it provides me an opportunity to work with others while still being creative. For example, I had someone come to me and ask me to do a mural in their backyard. I had never done a mural before but the idea of doing something different excited me. The customer didn’t really care what I did but she wanted sunflowers, bees, and butterflies. That was all that mattered to her. I had some ideas and talked through them with her and in the end, she got something she didn’t even know she wanted. She thought I was going to just do some big sunflowers and butterflies and that would be it. Below is what the mural turned out to be.
I gave her the sunflowers and bees and butterflies but I didn’t stop there. I created a landscape of the seasons.
In my most recent commission, the customer bought something I had already done in the past, a drawing I had done in school. She saw it hanging up and she fell in love. When I delivered it to her home, we got to talking and when I was holding it up on the wall she was going to hang it on, she said it would be cool if she had two that she could put side by side. She wanted me to create the exact same thing for her so she could have two. I suggested that instead of doing the exact same thing, I could create a piece that would be very similar and have the same colors and a piece that would compliment the original. Immediately, I was thinking about what I could do differently in the next drawing to compliment the one in my hands. I talked to the customer for about ten minutes with my preliminary ideas and then I was off. I spent the next few days finalizing my ideas and today, I have finished the piece. Below is the original that the customer bought and then the one she commissioned me to do next to it.
I really loved how the second one turned out and how well it complimented the first one. They are not the exact same but are close enough that the customer is happy. These two drawings together are going to liven up her kitchen and make her happy with the bright colors. That is why I like commissions. I work with people and their ideas, mix in a little bit of my ideas to take their wants to a whole new level, and make them happy with the final outcome. That feeling is a good feeling.
Today was the ending of one commission but on my books are at least three more. I have two more murals on the books and then a drawing/painting. I can’t wait to start on them and see what the outcome brings. Stay tuned to hear and see what I create.