So today I am going to move off in a different direction. Babs ( http://www.wilsonart-babs.blogspot.com/ ) suggested possibility talking about commissions. My friend, Julianna ( http://www.colorspeaker.com/ ) has recently talked with me about a commission she is working on. And Andrea's postings ( http://cestandrea.blogspot.com/ ) started me thinking about how to approach commissions once they are procured. So I think I am supposed to talk about commissions today.
Now I am not going to talk about how to locate commissions. I wouldn't know where to begin with that one. I am not a person who would take on a commission lightly as it would have to be the right proposal at the right time. What I would like to talk about is how to work with your client to produce the best work you can for them. The one thing you want to do is make the experience of working with you a positive memory. So you first need to realize why a client might have chosen you. First of all, it is obvious, they like the work you do. But I also think it is very appealing to many people to know someone has put effort in creating something original just for them. This is why you want to make the experience a positive memory for them. But you also want to have a positive experience.
First of all, say yes when you feel as though you can work well with the client. That is really important. Say NO if you just don't feel right about it! Lean on your intuition for this one. The next thing I think is important in creating this positive memory is to find out as much as you can about the client. Oh, we will ask what of the work we have done do you like? What colors do you like? Where will the painting be placed, etc. These are issues which can change quickly. So I think it is important for everyone to go a bit beyond that. For example, as an artist, evaluate the type of person they are: introvert, extrovert, laid back, type A, who and what do they surround themselves with, what are their major interests, how do they dress (gives great information), what kind of focus will the work have in their living/working space and of course the specific location they have in mind for the work...although that can change drastically. And use this information to create...
Considering a few of these you may need to think about the opposite of the answers to these questions. For example, a laid-back introvert may very well enjoy an exciting, colorful, over powering work...and they may not. Maybe the classic dresser really loves the idea of rustic...and they may not. The international banker might just love the idea of terra firma...and maybe not. You see, it is your job to really explore all of the possibilities and get a sense of what is going to excite this client in the type of work you do. And by-the-way, no space in a home or office is to be considered not worthy of your work. Sure, who would not like to be commissioned a huge canvas for the foyer of the penthouse? But the bathroom is a place where the viewer is captured alone to contemplate what is on the wall. And the more intimate the space, the more your work will be appreciated.
So here is the question, how do you effectively work with the client in a few meetings? That is where Andrea's (see link above and to the right...CestAndrea) project comes in. If you go to her blog site, go ahead, it is really wonderful, and scroll down to where she is talking about her "trend boards". Do you see these creative boards she is using to help broaden the colors for her work? If a client had these kinds of references to view, so you could get an idea of what they like and what they think they do not like, I think it would make the world of difference in the commission experience for everyone. If boards like this were created for the elements of art and you could use the principles to pull together the perfect piece for the client, don't you think it would be a positive experience? Yes, yes of course you would have to create the boards, but that would also be a positive experience for you (I have found that revisiting the elements and principles from time to time is very refreshing) as well. And over time, you could have a lovely series to use not only for your own reference, but to use with possible commission clients, too.
This brings me to my final point, for me it is important to connect with lots and lots of different artists. As you know, I love painting, but I also love other art forms a lot. I also love textiles a great deal and that is what drew me to Andrea's blog (and the fact she lives in Paris and speaks excellent English :) ). I additionally adore glass and have my favorite glass artists, too. Then there is the pottery...oh, I could go on and on here. But the point is by working together and understanding most all creative people are confronted with the same issues, we can learn so much with so much less pain. Sometimes it is another creative person who comes to your for a commission, and that makes working with them a bit easier...there is the common language. But often it is not someone who speaks the language of creativity who wants to commission you, so you have to help them learn a little bit of creative speak and you will need to learn a little bit of "whatever" speak. The experience I have in interior design has allowed me to understand whenever you allow the client into your world a little bit and give them the chance to "participate", then they are almost always happy with the result!
So what do you think? I am sure there are some wonderful comments wanting to get at me on this one.
On Monday... I will tell you what I do to make it easier for viewers/purchasers to participate in how they see my paintings.
Until then, have a Beautiful and Creative Weekend. And let me know your thoughts...