Commissioned Based Fine Art Business
[caption id="attachment_751" align="alignnone" width="550" caption="San Francisco based Artist & CEO"][/caption] My art patrons, who commissioned the Benovia vineyard painting series, recently asked me how I go about doing business as a fine artist. I’m often asked this, so I decided to share my answer. I have built my business as commissioned-based since I decided to commit to painting full time. People often confuse the word commission with consignment. Consignment describes the arrangement that most art galleries require of artists. The title to the art is held by the artist while the art gallery acts as the agent for the sale of the art. The artists gets paid if and when their art sells. This requires the artist to work on speculation and to accept a 50% to 60% payment from the gallery. Although it’s illegal for art galleries to demand exclusivity, they require that the artists work with no other art galleries in the large geographic market they define. That means that art galleries will typically require that the artist not sell anything on their own website. Commissioned art is paid for in advance by enthusiastic collectors. Not all artists accept commissions and even if they do, some do this with a certain reluctance. Generally artists are reluctant to accept commissions because they have not managed their collector’s expectations very well and they don't have a clear agreement. I have, and I always will, embrace private commissions. Not only does it make more business sense, it allows my collectors and I to get to know one another. I enjoy our interaction and getting to know each patron. I find energy and inspiration in creating a series or a canvas for someone. And I think it makes me more mindful of the gift of art. It’s a personal interaction. This is also why I don’t accept all commission requests.