HOW TO COMMISSION ART BY A LEADING INDIAN ARTIST
Whether or not to commission an artwork is a dilemma that many clients face while buying art. Often, they fall in love with a certain painting or an artist’s signature style, and they want a painting created by that artist to perfectly suit their space. In most cases, clients have a clear vision with specific requirements for size, colors and theme when they decide to commission an original painting by one of Laasya Art’s leading contemporary Indian artists.
When a client is ready to commission a painting, we work together as a team (the artist, gallerist, client and designer) to determine the subject, colors, measurements, textures and any other variables that are important to consider while developing a custom work. The commissioning process also generally includes visiting the client’s space to see and measure where the painting will hang, preparing an intermediate ‘work in progress’ sketch of the painting, and regularly communicating with both client and artist until the painting is ready for delivery. Once the concept is finalized and the sketch is approved, the artist typically takes a few weeks to complete the custom painting.
Over the years, here are a few things I have learned about best practices for commissioning artwork:
- A gallerist acts the ‘middleman’ between the client and the artist, working closely with both. It is the gallerist’s responsibility to understand the client’s vision for a painting in their particular space, as well as the artist’s vision for their work, so that they can break these ideas down to offer options for subject matter, color, size and other elements that both the client and artist will agree on.
- While developing the subject matter and finer details, I have always found it very helpful to understand not only what the client likes but also what they do not like. Both are very insightful. I also try to expose the client to as many paintings by the artist in question, so they can see all of the works that are available and might find something that speaks to them.
- There have been instances where a client has requested a commissioned painting for a home that is still under construction. This can be a more difficult situation as the furniture, upholstery, paint scheme and other interior elements have not yet been finalized. One way to address this issue is to create a mock-up of the painting and hang it on the wall, so we can see the precise size and get a sense of how it will work in the room.
- Another key factor that can influence the success of a commission is the artist’s own openness and comfort with receiving feedback. Some artists are very engaging partners in creating custom artwork, while other artists prefer to be told the size only and then be left alone to do their work.
- I sometimes see clients looking for a painting that will perfectly match their upholstery, carpet and constraints of their space, but they are not quite in love with it. However, I feel that a painting purchase has to be approached from the heart, not as decorative box to check. Look for something you love first, and then if it works with your aesthetics, space and budget, go for it. If not, let it go. There is a painting out there that will be perfect for both you and your home.
- Once we have completed all of the initial work to nail the overall look and feel of the commission, I strongly feel it is best to step back and let the artist take over. It’s important to give the artist space to work with a free mind and get into their creative flow without interruption.
When you do decide to move forward with commissioning a painting, I highly recommend that you seek out an experienced and trusted gallerist who can oversee the process. The role of a gallerist is critical––understanding the client’s vision and communicating to the artist, as well as knowing the artist’s style, strengths and limitations.
Of course, I welcome further questions about buying custom paintings, and if you are interested in commissioning a painting by a leading contemporary Indian artist, I encourage you to make an appointment to visit our gallery in Palo Alto (San Francisco Bay Area). We are always committed to our collectors’ satisfaction and making every art or painting purchase––from buying Indian art online to commissioning a large-scale painting––go smoothly.
— Sonia Nayyar Patwardhan