5 Tips for Buying Custom Art


Commissioning an artist to make custom art for your home or business can be overwhelming at times. Buying wall art and knowing what you want is hard enough when you can see the finished product in front of you. With commissioned art, there is typically a little faith you have to place in the artist that you choose, because you don’t know exactly what it will look like. These following tips will help prepare you if you are looking to commission an artist online or in person to make custom art for you.

Tip # 1: Choose an artist that works in the style you are looking for wall art in.

I can’t tell you how often I am asked to make custom art that is not in my modern abstract art style. I mean hey, I would love your business and to help you out, but realistic paintings of your car or favorite pet isn’t exactly my forte. There are many talented artists in every genre, so do a little research and find an artist that specializes in the style of wall art you are looking for. You can search for artists on google or sites and directories like AbsoluteArts and Etsy.

Tip #2: Make sure the artist specializes in or regularly works on custom art.

Just as buying commissioned art from an artist can make you feel a little uncertain, not all artists are cut out for making commissioned art for people. Many artists are very talented at coming up with amazing, beautiful and masterful modern art. But give them parameters, feedback from the person buying the commissioned art and a custom color scheme, and they are up for a heap of trouble. Not to mention that working with a collector on custom art requires great communication skills, responsiveness and good deadline management – things that most artists lack. Look to see if the artist promotes doing custom art or commissioned art before you contact them. Check their artist resume or CV and see if they have a good track record for consistently producing commissioned art. If they don’t seem to do much custom art, then look elsewhere. You need to work with a real professional here, especially when buying custom art online.

Tip #3: Ask the artist if they can show you a visual of what the custom art would look like before you commission them.

This is really important. If you don’t know what you are buying, how can you be confidant enough to commit and pay a deposit for your commissioned art? I will be honest; I don’t know very many artists that are good at this. This is the professional service side of the art business that the average free spirited artist doesn’t understand. I have been creating realistic computer renderings of my custom art for well over a decade. In fact that is one of the things that set my commissioned art services apart.

Computer Rendering of Custom Art by Andy Hahn

Computer Rendering of Custom Art by Andy Hahn

In order to get the best idea what you are getting, you need to know what the art will look like and how it will look in your space. If the artist you want to make custom art for you can’t give you a clear and confident answer (with visuals) you can see and approve before committing to payment, look elsewhere. Beware of responses from the artist that use phrases like: “it will look like that other art of mine but just imagine different colors”, “imagine it looking like…”, “pretend it looks like…”, “visualize…”. Lets get real, most people can’t visualize this stuff. You need to see the wall art for real. Demand it or find an artist that specializes in this stuff. You don’t want to be surprised with artwork you weren’t expecting because you “visualized” it differently than the artist. Clear expectations are key!

Tip #4: Make sure the artist can show you exactly what the colors of the custom art will look like.

This is much easier if you are working with an artist in person. But if you are buying commissioned art online, there are some really easy ways to make sure you are talking about the same colors. What you see on screen or in an email isn’t one of them! As you may know, colors on computer monitors, and mobile devices vary greatly. So what the artist sees on their screen may not be what the colors look like on yours. Don’t risk expecting a red painting and getting a pink one, or expecting slate blue and getting royal blue. See if the artist has a good solution for specifying the color of the custom art they are making for you so that you know exactly what you will get.

Tip #5: Expect to pay a deposit to get the custom art started.

Usually artists will ask for a deposit to be paid before they start the actual custom art. A typical deposit ranges from 25% to 75%. I usually ask for 50% down after approval of concept and the remaining balance before I ship the final art. I have heard of people asking for 100% down to start, and that is ok, but I would beware if they expect it to take a really long time or if they are not very well know. Usually the deposit is non-refundable. Artists want a deposit because there is often a lot of time in concepting and presenting options to the collector for approval before starting the actual custom art. That time has value. Plus when the artist starts the art, they have to purchase all the materials etc. and professional grade art supplies aren’t cheap. The deposit helps cover these expenses over the course of time that the artist is making your commissioned art.

I hope you found these 5 tips for buying custom art to be helpful! Browse my blog for more interesting content, watch for more to come and stay in the know by subscribing to my blog or following me socially. Plus, don’t forget, I specialize in custom art, so check out my abstract art and my commissioned art process and let me know if I can give you a free consultation and estimate. I would be happy to work with you on your next art purchase, just click below, call 314.614.5357 or contact me.

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