Why Commissions Work for (Some) Artists and Collectors

Being a full-time artist is so rewarding, but you have to be flexible and up for the challenge. I’m a firm believer in painting what speaks to me and inspires me, even if it’s just for one day, and I’m always fortunate with that painting moves someone else and they decide to add it to their personal collection. It’s a happy job requirement of being a thriving artist. But, what about the many fans that have not bought an original painting of mine, even though they love my art?


A scene I captured in Abu Dhabi on my iPhone last year
A scene I captured in Abu Dhabi on my iPhone last year
The resulting painting “Heat Wave” which has become one of my most successful paintings.











The missing link can sometimes be the personal connection to the painting. The story behind it. And that’s where commissions come in. A commission of a family portrait, a scene at the beach, or your favorite travel destination are all great examples of reasons to commission an artist to paint you an original work of art that speaks to you immediately. Having spent years and years of honing both my drawing and painting skills, I can honestly say that translating a photograph into a work of art is definitely included in my range of expertise. The real challenge is blending the artist’s style and capability with the vision of the client.

A late night study of an abstract seascape, inspired by Abu Dhabi

Artists like myself tend to love commissions, but it depends a lot on the subject, and the client, for that matter. Take abstract art, my favorite, for example. It can start with working with the commissioner on the desired color scheme and size, but the opportunities are still endless. So when prospective clients come to me with commission requests, I recommend they spend time looking at art that they enjoy for a few days and then let me grow to understand their preferences. If they already see a painting of mine that has sold and they’d like one similar, then it becomes much easier. And if they would like a painting from a particular photo, then sending me multiple photo references is key to my inspiration and creative process.

Many artists, after they’ve become quite established (and therefore busy), decide they no longer can accept commissioned work and work exclusively within their own creative motivations and gallery needs. For now, I take commissions regularly (I am working on 3 projects at the moment) and have decided to temporarily waive my commission fee. This means, my commissioned painting prices are congruent with my original sales prices, making it an opportune time to get a custom work of art.

"Full Bloom" -commissioned original painting for a client office in Abu Dhabi
“Full Bloom” -commissioned original painting for a client office in Abu Dhabi

In sum, I think commissions are a great way for artists and art lovers to connect. We get to work on a myriad of subject matter, keeping our portfolio fresh, while embracing the challenge of making a client happy. Art lovers can build their collection in a more comfortable fashion, owning the art that is most personal to them, as opposed to going with trends or specific styling.

I plan on working on several portrait studies this week as well (in addition to continuing progress on several commissions). So, stick around for some behind the scenes pictures from my studio!

For more information on my commission process, visit: www.amirarahim.com/commissions

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