You’ve created a vision for a work of art that you want or you simply know that the artist fits your style. So, how do you go about asking them to create a piece specifically for you?
If you are considering commissioning a piece for the first time, it can be intimidating. But, it can also be a fun and collaborative experience!
Commissioning a work of art can be great for both the collector and the artist, if it is done right. As a collector, it is your chance to be a part of the creative process and bring to life something that you will connect with forever. For the artist, it's a chance to build a lasting relationship with the collector and stretch creative boundaries.
Q: There has been a lot of push back in the art world regarding commissions. How do you feel about commissions?
Zachary Crane: "That push back is whiny and entitled. I want no part of it. I genuinely enjoy commissions. It’s a creative, collaboration I get to have with my collectors. Commissions have been basically art school for me. I get ideas thrown my way that I would never do on my own. There’s usually an educational moment in there somewhere for me. I say yes to whatever the request may be, then I often struggle with the likeness, or something new I haven’t done yet. I always land, and it makes me a better artist. I love commissions. I am grateful for them."
Q: How much does it usually cost to have a commission done?
ZC: "That very much depends on what the collector is commissioning. It can be as low as $450 to as high as $8K and more. If it’s a labor intensive piece done in oils, the cost will be on the higher end. If it’s a loose, drawing or character it will cost somewhere on the lower end. The cost also has to do with the context. How many portraits am I doing? A whole family or just one person? The more portraits and context, typically the higher the cost."
You will receive a quote upon filling out the commission request form here. We encourage you to give as many details as possible. The artist will need to know what materials will be needed to produce the piece you want. Providing reference images is a great way to communicate about what you are looking for. If the piece will be for a certain area of your home, provide the artist with an idea of the style so they can understand how this piece will fit with your aesthetic. After filling out the form, you can send photos at firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: What’s the first step? How do we get the ball rolling?
ZC: "You can find the commission form at the bottom of this page or by clicking here. Send in your request, please be as detailed as possible and either I or someone on my team will get back to you right away. Also, sometimes it’s easier to have a facetime or phone conversation. So if you’d like me to call you, please leave your phone number."
Please make sure to leave your contact information and specify in the form if you would like to have a phone consultation with the artist. We will get back to you as soon as possible once we've received your request.
Q: Do you take a deposit?
ZC: "I take a 50% deposit when we start the job. I then collect the other 50% when the piece is done to your satisfaction, and you’re in love with it, and I went above your expectations. The deposit secures your time slot for your project. Also, it’s much easier to pay for once the job is done, because it’s already halfway paid off."
Once the commission work is agreed upon you will receive an invoice by email to materialize the commission contract which will include the discussed price, with all applicable expenses associated with creating the piece, and payment terms. A 50% deposit is required to start the work and will be payable directly through the invoice by credit card, Venmo or Zelle.
Q: How long does it take for the commission to be complete from the time we put the deposit down?
ZC: "If it’s something on the simpler side, I give myself three weeks. If it’s something large scale and heavy on the detail, three months maximum. Your piece could be done much sooner than that, but I give myself extra time so I never have to rush."
The time of completion is specific to each piece of art and will be discussed priorly.
Q: What if we sorta know what we want, but we are embarrassed it might seem dumb or boring?
ZC: "I do not judge my collectors on what they want done from me. Your home, your art collection. If you care for something enough to have a painting done, then it’s special to you and I respect that. If you’d like to have a conversation about the commission, and you need some help narrowing it down, or polishing off the idea, or even changing the idea completely. I’m a great conceptual advisor and I’d be more than happy to collaborate/ help with the concept."
Q: Is it just paintings we can commission? Or other mediums like sculpture, or installation?
ZC: "As long as I’m confident I can deliver whatever it is you’re after, then I will do it. If I know for certain it’s out of my skill range then I will let you know."
You can take a look at Zachary Crane's past commissioned work here
Q: Is it vain to have a self portrait done?
ZC: "I don’t see it that way. It was very common in older times. It’s something that will be in your estate and handed down to your posterity. Besides, you’re always taking a bit of a chance when you have me paint you. I don’t see it most of the time, but I’ve been told that I have a way of enhancing unflattering features."
Q: What if we aren’t happy with the way you portrayed us? Like, you made my nose too big or whatever?
ZC: "I want you to feel comfortable telling me whatever it is about the portrait that isn’t working for you, and I will make adjustments. I won’t be shipping the piece to you until you are happy."
We truly encourage you to be upfront and mention any details you would like the artist to spend more or less time on. We need to hear about your whole vision and your expectations for the commissioned work of art.
Commissioned work by Zachary Crane