my commission process

If you know me, you know that I hate the cold. I'm much more productive when the weather starts to get warmer. So I'm scheduling more commissions for the spring, and I'm hoping to schedule more. My goal is to fill my calendar all the way through the summer. So, I wanted to make a post about my commission process to give people an idea of what to expect when asking for custom work. I've turned the comments on in this post so you can ask questions. Also feel free to email or send me a message. 

Warning: this post is long! I'm quiet in real life, so give me a keyboard and some alone time and I'll ramble on and on. 

First,  let me tell you what goes on in my head. Here's a little history. In college my first major was interior design. I didn't get very far with it because I felt like there wasn't enough freedom, there were a lot of rules and well, math. I still love interior design and arranging things in a space to look pretty and inviting. I'm kind of a nester. My fascination with color theory comes into play here as well. The color of furniture, paint color on the wall, as well as the colors of the art in a space all effect our moods. For instance, most people would feel uncomfortable trying to sleep in a bright orange and red bedroom. Soft colors like sky blue and sage green are better for sleeping, where red and orange are more stimulating (maybe better suited for a dining room or work out studio).

Every individual is different though, and I find this most intriguing about color theory. Some people are drawn to more vibrant and highly saturated colors (me) and others prefer more subdued tones. That doesn't mean I want to go and paint my bedroom ceiling electric green and bright turquoise, but I wouldn't mind a small painting of the same colors above the headboard. I tend to shy away from the subdued or darker colors in my own house. This brings me to my first and most important point.

When I'm making custom work I want to make it to YOUR specifications. 

It needs to be within my current style, but if you prefer subdued or darker colors, thats what we'll do. Just because I don't like it in my house doesn't mean it won't look great in your house. 

Step 1

My first step when starting custom work is to come to your space, walk around, take pictures, ask questions. I look at your decor and any "pop" colors you have. Most people decorate with neutral tones and have a few "pop" colors (a mustard yellow throw over the sofa, navy blue pillows, turquoise china, etc). We'll go over what colors I see pop out and what colors you want to bring in to the space. I'll take measurements and calculate what size canvas(s) I'll need. This will give us an idea of the initial material cost which I require up front (kind of like a down payment). 

Step 2

Next we'll talk about design. Is there a pretty chandelier that we could play off the shape of?

Holden commission 2016

Maybe there's a rug or drapes with a cool geometric design? Or do you want a specific shape or pattern?

McBride commission 2017

Or do you like the simplicity of straight lines to heighten the space or a few soothing circles?

OR maybe you don't want a design element at all. Maybe you just want that rich color to speak for itself. I use a lot of metallics in the design part of my work right now, but that doesn't mean you have to use them in your own design. I've had people ask for the background to be left alone. This also knocks a little off the price. Less detail = less time and material cost. A striking colorful background with some cool drips can make a statement in a room. Imagine this piece in an entryway or along a hallway with natural light pouring in some giant windows. 

work in progress 3' x 6' canvas

work in progress 3' x 6' canvas

Step 3

After I gather all of this information I'll go home and start sketching. Usually if the piece is large I'll sketch things to scale. This simply shows how the piece(s) will fit in the space. I'm embarrassed of my sketching skills...     

At this point I will draw up a contract that will tell you exactly how much the piece(s) will cost and give you an estimated date of completion. Many factors influence price, the biggest one being the size. The amount of materials I use depends mainly on the size, and this is the upfront cost. The upfront cost or down payment is usually about 20-25% of the total cost of the commission. The rest of the price is based on the amount of detail and time I will put in to the art. All pieces come ready to hang with proper hanging materials installed. There are add-ons such as framing, installation, transportation of large pieces, etc. These are all optional so that we can figure out what works for you.

If the price isn't right, we can always negotiate. I've had clients who are set on a certain size but can't afford it. There are different ways we can get around this. One, I'll file this away until you are ready to start and have saved some extra $. Two, we can work out an installment plan. Or three, we can rework the design and maybe do something smaller saving that big piece for sometime in the future. Don't be afraid to ask. I'm willing to accommodate most requests.   

Step 4

Finally! After all the signing of contracts and money talk, it's time to make the art. After I get that down payment and pay for the supplies I'll usually start right away. If I'm backed up, I'll always let you know. I can include you as much or as little as you want. Do you want progress shots every day? Do you want to help me scheme the design? Or do you want to sit back and be surprised by the finished product? Depending on the size and detail, a custom piece can take anywhere from two weeks to two months (really big ones). When it's done, schedule a studio visit. Come over and see what you think. If I need to add or change anything it is much easier to do in the studio. If you approve we'll figure out delivery and installation. Then it is all yours! 

So, was that post long enough for you? If you've made it this far thank you so much! I hope I can make you a special piece for your space. Shoot me a message and we'll talk.