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Commissioned artwork

Discussion in 'Glass' started by Caligula, Jul 6, 2014.

  1. Caligula

    Caligula *results not typical.

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    So it looks like there is a lot of confusion in the glass world (among buyers and artists alike) as to the proper etiquette and protocol for commissioning artwork. As such I did a bit of digging to see how the rest of the art world does this (paintings, sculptures, et al.).

    Having combed through a few articles and blogs I found this one to be the most pertinent and relevant for glass collectors such as ourselves, and feel it's worth reading over:

    http://wickedeye.wordpress.com/2009/06/10/a-“newbies”-guide-to-commissioning-artwork/

    I'd copy and paste here for you, but the article is much longer than the character limit allows on FC, so quit being lazy and just click the above link.

    I would also love to invite people who have experience commissioning glass to share their thoughts and advice on the subject. I would he honored if members like @PhotoRider @mvapes and @Deadshort480 (among others) would chime in here.
     
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  2. syrupy

    syrupy fumed

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    Interesting read and starting point for conversation.

    Do glass artists really use contracts? Milestone dates, Final deadline? Haven't seen that one, at least not accurate dates.

    I'd like to do this, but it's not practical because with that much communication, I wonder if most glass artists would balk at giving and receiving that much back-and-forth, unless the stakes were high on both sides.

    Also, in commissioning paintings and such, the artist takes much more of a risk IMO if the client flakes. If someone wants a painting of my kitty Fluffster and changes their mind, what can the artist do with that? On the other hand, I would argue that even the most customized glass pieces are much easier to sell. I would bet that @Herr_Dampf somewhat maligned incycler would be snapped up in a second in the Classifieds.

    Also I am not sure the section on rights and copyrights applies they way it would in reproduced images and artwork.

    Overall it's some great food for thought. Here's a summary:


    Do’s & Don’ts
    To finish up, here’s a quick list of do’s and don’ts when hiring an artist for a commission:

    DO research and find an artist who works in the style and medium you prefer.
    DON’T expect an artist to work in a new medium or style that they aren’t familiar with.

    DO research current artists and their standard rates for the kind of work you expect
    DON’T contact an artist out of your budget range and expect them to lower their prices.

    DO communicate your request clearly and provide good references
    DON’T expect the artist to read your mind.

    DO touch base frequently and give feedback as early as possible.
    DON’T wait till the artwork is finished and then expect the artist to repaint it completely because you’ve changed your mind.

    DO expect your artist to keep in touch with you throughout the process.
    DON’T forget that they expect you to do the same.

    DO set out expectations, and discuss copyrights and shipping as early in the process as you can.
    DON’T assume you have rights to the artwork that haven’t been discussed, or that the artist will cover the shipping.

    DO treat your artist professionally and with respect.
    DON’T treat them like you’re doing them a favor by giving them a job.

    Edit: I do have one burning question for glass commissioners. It seems most take paypal, which has certain buyer protections within a limited time. But commissioning and receiving glass can take a long time. Not sure how to navigate that, other than with trust.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2014
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  3. Caligula

    Caligula *results not typical.

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    Indeed, I wasn't saying it applies 100% to us but at the same time it's the closest template that we have to work from.
     
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  4. Deadshort480

    Deadshort480 I got a fever! The only cure is more glass, baby!

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    When I choose an artist to create me something I have to speak with the artist first. I need to get a feel for their maturity level, communication habits, and overall professionalism.

    It helps to first own something from the artist that was not commissioned because you can closely examine their work and artistry.

    Choosing an established artist is a huge plus. Most of these artists are hoping for word of mouth and repeat customers. You are going to have less issues with an established artist as far as overall design and intricate work involved. BUT!! With an established and heavily appreciated artist you may not receive the communication you hope for due to inundation of the artist's email, Kik, phone, or whatever. Also, with an established artist I believe you have little to no chance of getting burned. One horrible review about how the artist took money and never delivered can be extremely harmful to an artist's reputation.

    I choose to only use PayPal. I won't send money orders or cash. It's just me, but I'm not a super trusting person and want at least some type of protection. If an artist says that they can have the piece built and shipped within a couple of weeks I have no problem paying half up front and then half upon completion. If I'm told that there is a wait then I am usually good with a small deposit to get on a list, partial payment on start up and remainder paid upon completion. If I am contacting an artist I have a rapport with and there is a long wait then I actually have no problem paying up front because of my past history with the artist.

    I never ask an artist to do something different or new to their repertoire unless they have shown interest in trying new techniques and offer me a discount to try their new tech on my piece.

    I like to give the artist some liberty with what they are making. When I contact someone to make me something I give a loose description of what I want and then we start to focus on the finished design piece by piece. During this process, there are certain things that I find necessary for the piece (ballpark height, base size, joint size, bent neck, and if I need certain colors or additions like millies), but I also tell the artists that they can do their thing while staying within budget. Any extra flair they want to add, other colors they'd like to use, any additions they feel would look good. I believe most artists work their best when they are left to their own designs.

    I have told an artist, just do your thing and it has worked out very well.

    Do not expect something for nothing. Don't expect the artist to just do extra stuff. If you've seen an encased opal on every piece they've made, don't be surprised if you don't have one if you don't ask for it. Don't expect free dabbers, dropdowns, or whatever. If the artist includes something out of the kindness of his or her heart then just consider yourself lucky and thank the artist very much.

    On the flip side, if an artist tells you that they are including something extra for you and fail to, offer them a gentle reminder that your freebie was not included. This may just be my belief of "do what you say you're going to do" and I believe in it wholeheartedly.

    Remember that some of these artists are probably using what they make more often than they are selling what they make, so do your research and ask questions about artists befor committing to anyone or anything.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2014
  5. syrupy

    syrupy fumed

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    @Deadshort480. Thanks for that, had I known I would not have paid fully upfront. Would you ask for function vids before delivery? And if so, what if the function wasn't up to expectations? What then?

    Which brings me to the other question, about revisions. How able is a customer to request revisions, and at what point does it turn from part of the regular work to added cost? I'm thinking more the artist not getting a bend or a drain on a recycler quite right, not that the buyer wasn't clear and changing their mind. In that situation I wouldn't know if I'm asking for a tweak or them to start over because I don't know how glass is put together.


    As a newbie, the best I can do for now is reference their other work, and let them know to make a piece they wouldn't mind looking at daily for a few years. I don't know my marbles, techniques, etc.so I'm scared of asking for an implosion when I wanted an opal. Is there a good place to just learn what techniques are called?
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2014
  6. Deadshort480

    Deadshort480 I got a fever! The only cure is more glass, baby!

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    I didn't know anything about glass before I started talking to these artists. I continue to ask questions and learn from them, but I've also done a bit of research on the interwebz and have learned certain things that will help in discussing work with the artist. I don't ever plan on blowing glass, but damn it's a fun thing to learn about.

    About water function and testing, I like to ask for function videos of pieces that are supposed to have some type of function. I don't need a function video of the Bee rig from Cory because it's a three hole diffy in a hollow with water and these all seem to function the same with art built around them.

    If I'm ordering a "functioning" piece like a recycler, incycler, or Klein then I'd like to see a function video. If it doesn't do what I want it to do then what's the point? You MUST be upfront to the artist in the very beginning that function is paramount. If you've seen previous examples of their work then reference that and tell them that you won't accept less than what you are referencing when it comes to function. Most artists nail down function on their particular style in time. For example, I know that I never have to ask Gordo Scientific for a function video. I know that he won't sell a piece that doesn't function properly. That is integrity and some artists have at, some don't, and some develop it. There's more than one reason why I like to collect Gordo Scientific pieces.

    If you order a piece from an artist and it does not live up to your expectations then I can't really tell you what to do. That's tough. Personally, it would come down to cost. If I'm paying $500 for a recycler then I want exactly what I asked for. If I paid $140 then, and again I say personally, I would accept what I get as long as it actually works. I would hope that an artist would have enough of that integrity to not put out a shit piece that doesn't work at all.
     
  7. Caligula

    Caligula *results not typical.

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  8. thisperson

    thisperson Ruler of all things person

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    This thread sparked my curiosity.

    I won't be getting one anytime soon since I expect it to cost a couple thousand dollars, but how would one get a Super Mario Bros. piece (or any copyrighted works piece) commissioned?

    I know they exist because I saw some Mario pieces in the glass theme (porn) thread.

    I'd expect a large cost to go towards just paying copyright rights.
     
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  9. Caligula

    Caligula *results not typical.

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    Pretty sure you don't have to worry about that.
     
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  10. Deadshort480

    Deadshort480 I got a fever! The only cure is more glass, baby!

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    Yeah, I wouldn't worry too much about that when it comes to glass.
     
  11. syrupy

    syrupy fumed

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    Shhh, a dirty secret is none of the copyright holders are compensated, which is ironic since the article in the OP made a point of rights. When Disney shuts down Team Death Star, then I'll be worried.
     
  12. thisperson

    thisperson Ruler of all things person

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    Now there's something else I'd like to own. A Star Wars themed piece.
     
  13. mvapes

    mvapes Surrounded by the healthy!

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    Hey @Caligula

    I've only commissioned artists for repair. I can't afford that kind of work. However, I'm good friends with Tristan Hodges who is an extremely high end blower. For his studio you reach out to him, go over designs and colors. He asks for a 500 dollar deposit and then he draws something up for you. Once you come up with a design and he lays out the estimate he asks for 30% up front (minus the 500) and the rest is due before pick up.

    Most of these studios can take quite a long time to finish your piece, they rush for no one.

    Here's a piece of his work....

    This one is a Banjo Collab he did recently.

    [​IMG]
     
  14. FlyingLow

    FlyingLow Team NO SLEEP!

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    Love Banjo pieces.
    I had three of his pieces in college... Flash forward 10 years, they are all gone and demand has pushed his prices further than I am comfortable spending:(

    Perhaps one day I will have another Banjo. I miss those pieces.
     
  15. syrupy

    syrupy fumed

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    All the advice from the OP article about communication make more sense the more expensive the piece. I think going four-digits into a rig, the expectation of professional conduct and touching base, often is higher.

    Not being a big dog, personally I'm more interested in navigating a sub-$500 transaction. This might have some special dynamics--inexperienced buyer nervous about commissioning a work (maybe for first time), blowers who are coming up and transitioning to being more popular, individual artists working alone and not associated with any studio, artists who bounce between emails, KIKs, IG DMs, family life, etc.

    I'm also totally interested in FCers experience with bigger commissioned work. Cool thread.
     
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  16. PhotoRider

    PhotoRider Diagnosed with level 11 G.A.S.

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    Sorry guys. I'll throw something out soon on this topic. I'm typically a less demanding customer on giving inputs which sometimes difficult for the artist i.e. I leave a pretty open field. Some artists need more direction and some don't want it. I tend to just pick the artist based on previous work and just say do your thing. So number one for me is read the artist and determine how the artist works, does he need a lot of direction or do they prefer flexibility. There isn't a single method that works for all :)
     
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