How to Build a Contract for Commissioned Artworks

Many artists, ranging from emerging or amateur artists all the way to fully established professionals, create commissioned works for clients. The idea of a commission is that the purchaser has some input into the finished work that they are buying. This can range from vague direction or discussion all the way to specific agreed upon terms for colours, subject matter, materials used, size, etc. It is up to each artist to decide how much input or direction they will accept from a client and how much they prefer to decide for themselves.

Whatever your artistic boundaries are for commissioned works, you should always create a written contract or commission agreement outlining your own stipulations. I have listed some common examples below. Having a written contract signed by both parties is meant to: Continue reading

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Online Resources for Artists


Artist’s Legal Outreach
The Artist’s Legal Outreach is an indispensable resource for British Columbia and Canadian Artists. Run by volunteers of lawyers, law students, and many others, the ALO offers clinics on artist’s legal issues, non-profit charity legal issues, and workshops. Their website includes toolkits and resources for artists, offering answers to questions like “how do I copyright my work?” and “what is infringement?”

Google Alerts
Google Alerts are free, automated, and customized searches provided by Google, emailed to you at a frequency of your choosing. When you specify a search term, for example, “Marcel Dzama”, Google will regularly email you all updated websites, news, blogs, etc which mention Marcel Dzama. Along with research or personal interest, Google Alerts are also useful to artists to enter their own name as a search term: all of your relevant articles and mentions will be emailed to you.

Instant Coffee
Instant Coffee is a free, Vancouver / Toronto based email list of art events, openings, calls for submission, artist retreats, available studios, and more. You can sign up for specific lists for Vancouver, Toronto, Halifax, Alberta, Montreal, or else for the national list which includes items Canada-wide.

MailChimp is an email marketing tool, offering templates and subscriber storage. If you send out a newsletter to your clients and fans, MailChimp is an excellent way to organize your mail-out. The service is provided for free if you have under 2,000 subscribers and send out up to 12,000 emails per month. For larger plans, they have nominal fees. MailChimp also offers tracking, analytics, social integration, and more.