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Sistina-internoThroughout history, art has been commissioned by individuals and institutions. Some of the world’s greatest masterpieces like the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel were commissioned art projects. Even today, artwork is commissioned for a wide variety of reasons. Perhaps the greater portion of commissioned art is what is called work-for-hire in the language of intellectual property. This means that an artist is employed by an individual to create art for a specific purpose. The terms of that employment usually dictate that the employer owns all rights to the work created.
Artists need to get a clear understanding of what the client wants and expects and be upfront about you are able to do. Remember that producing a work of art on commission for another party is a relationship and the key to successfully working on commission is your ability to be flexible and communicate with whomever hires you.
A commission relationship only succeeds when you respond effectively to the other party’s concerns, requests, and needs. Checkout this blog which outlines some realistic terms and expectations when entering into a commissioned project. It’s also smart to use a neutral, third-party online escrow service like to create a safe and secure contract that will please all parties. These types of platforms provide buyers and sellers  with a convenient one-stop location to create, negotiate and close trades with financial protection. Online escrow services also allow the artist and client to set a timeline, be clear about how the work will be picked up, shipped, and who is liable for damage.

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