Wednesday, June 6, 2018

How Commissions Happen

Have you ever wondered about the process of commissioning a piece of artwork?

Getting a 'custom made just for you' artwork is a very rewarding way to add to your art collection and brings a really special piece into your home. I do a lot of custom totem poles because people often have a specific place for a pole or want one created just for them. 

So how does it work? 

Meet and Agree on a Theme or Idea for the Pole


Usually we meet at my studio and look through my portfolio book ('Totems'- available on Etsy) so I can get a feel for what resonates with my clients. We look at shapes and colors, talk about the height and talk about any special things that should be in the pole. Often there is an animal or two requested.

We discuss where the pole will go - indoors or out? what's around it? and agree on a budget that works for everyone. By the end of the meeting we have a general agreement on what the pole will be.

 Send in Photos of Site or Pet Portrait


Next my client will send me photos of the place where the pole will go. Either the room in their house or the spot in the garden. If I can I like to see the site in person so I can get a good feel for the setting but photos work well too. 

If there is a pet portrait involved they send me photos of their pet. I do my best to capture the spirit of their dear friend with what I describe as a caricature of the animal.  

Down Payment to Start the Work


Once we are in agreement about the project a non-refundable down payment is made and work begins. I take a bit of time in the beginning to let everything percolate and then make some decisions about what to build. This is the place where we all take a leap of faith that, given the freedom to create something wonderful, amazing things will happen. 

Progress Photos along the Way


Once things get underway I send progress photos as the pole develops. The client always has the freedom to ask me to replace an element that doesn't suit them for any reason. That doesn't happen very often but in the end we all need to love the piece. 

Color Selection and Glazing 


Once all of the pieces are made and the pole is assembled I make the final color selections and begin the glazing process. A few more progress photos go out and before we know it the pole is finished and ready for its new home. All in all it is usually a 3 to 6 month process.

Pick-up and Installation  


After final approval the pole is numbered, taken apart and packed for travel. To see the installation process click here.

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