I have been doing commission art for many years now and it has always been a concern of mine wether it has the same validity as the art that is done with an artists free will .
Today’s post is about the difference between working on your own free concepts as opposed to doing a commissioned work.
The whole concept of working without a commission as a free agent I think is relatively a very new thing and historically,art was created mainly in a context of some sort of a commission. Think of all the great work of the masters of the past. The Night Watch by Rembrandt,
The Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo,
or The Last Supper by Leonardo Da Vinci..
There is of course numerous other great examples with all their great stories of saintly patrons, greedy artists and the history of the commissioned works that withstood the ravages of time.
No doubt, independent works of art have appeared from the earliest of times and were always part of many artists free expressions but it was not until the Romanticist period that the arts gained full freedom to pursue their true unique vision based on individual inspiration emphasising originality and innovations opposed to the more socially oriented Classicist periods.
In a way, doing a work in consideration of a clients demand as in a commissioned portrait for example is somewhat contradictory to the concept of an independent work of art that obeys no prescribed rules of conventions and the real challenge is finding the middle path between the two approaches.
In my own commissioned work I always try to emphasise the need for greatest amount of freedom for individual interpretation related to style and composition. Many times there is a definite contradiction between the conception of the client and that of the artist, creating a tension that can result in breach of trust and aborted work.
To avoid such result there is an absolute need to negotiate right from the beginning the terms and conditions, explaining the limits of the expectations and demands of a client that many times believe that by commissioning a work they have bought the right to control the result. Obviously, the paying client does have a right to a certain amount of intervention but it has to be pointed out right from the beginning that since the original idea for the commission came from the impulse to have a work of a certain artist’s style, this fact must be respected and be allowed to come to full expression, accepting a certain amount of deviation from the clients vision.
Ideally, an end result of a commissioned work should be something that gives both sides a feeling of accomplishment and fulfilment of both the client and the artists vision.