The Commission Art Process :: An interview with Aaron Harris

If you follow me on Instastories, you know how much I LOVE my two commission paintings by my talented artist friend, Aaron Harris.

I get questions all the time about how the commission process works, so I “interviewed” Aaron to give you all a better idea on how it all happens…

Before diving into the interview, a little overview :: Aaron created two custom commissions for our home this past Fall, named after my twins, Jack & Lily. These paintings were inspired by our home decor as well as the feminine and masculine attributes of our twins. I love that they are both unique but could also be displayed in the same room in the future. Each piece contains a golden letter {an L and a J}, which makes them extra personal!

What are three fun & ittle known facts about you ::

1. I grew up on a miniature horse farm.

2. I am an attorney and do estate planning and corporate law.

3. I wrote a book called “Love as an Artform: 30 Days to Deeper Love.”

How long have you been creating art?

Most of my life… but more seriously and professionally since 2002 and more full time since 2010.

What inspires your art?

My art is inspired by questions.  I am a very curious and interested person – so I love to use art to delve into ideas and concepts and learn.  Most of my art is an attempt to either present a question for the viewer or to answer a question for myself.  I look at my art as a conversation and like to think of it as a way of connecting with others.

What is the typical process of creating a commission?

The process is rather simple really.  I start by working with a client to figure out what they are needing and wanting.  We start by considering the space they have for a piece and the sizes that could work in the space. We then discuss the image they are thinking of or any inspiration they have or a piece of mine they have seen and like.  After getting these basic foundational details roughly laid out we will discuss what their budget is for the piece and I work with them to come up with a price that works for both of us and the details of the piece that can work based on the final budget (i.e, final size, substrate, complexity, etc.).  During this process I also work to find out the message they hope this piece portrays in their space or the intention or feeling they hope the piece has in the space.  We discuss more details about what they would like to see in the piece (images, materials, colors, subject matter, etc.).  We also discuss what they don’t like, such as colors, styles, etc.  Then we set up a timeline for the completion of the piece and we request payment to get started on the piece.  Then I begin working and complete the piece within the timeline.

Tell us about the process of the layers for The Jack and The Lily commissions? What are they made out of?

For both the pieces, the Jack and the Lily, I worked in a layers of resin, acrylic paint, watercolor, inks, pen and pencil, gold leaf, gold foil tape, charcoal and lead.  The image starts off with abstracted layers of bold colors to be the underpainting (this makes the final subdued image more interesting as you look through the layers to see more complexity and intensity underneath everything).  I then work up layers of tinted resin to begin obscuring the more stark under painting.  Between each layer I paint more details and draw/write in elements of the message we were trying to portray with each piece.  In this instance, I worked to describe and portray elements of each of your twins and their personalities.  Then as we are nearing completion of the pieces I do more full pours of white tinted resin to cover the entire piece and give it a final finished look.

What is the typical cost of your art? Can you work with a budget?

This is a hard question to answer as it really depends on a lot of things.  Things like the size, the complexity, the materials, whether it is an original or a print, etc.  But a range of costs for commissioned pieces typically range between $1,500 – $5,000.  Prints can range from $30 upwards of $500+.

However, I definitely can work with a budget and I generally try to find a way to make something work with most people and their budget.  I do this because I really enjoy working with people to help use art to tell a story for their space.

What is typical turn-around time?

This can vary greatly as well, depending on needs of the client, my schedule, previous commitments for other commissions, etc.  However, I generally have flexibility to meet tighter deadlines if at all possible.  I work really fast compared to most artists but I still like to give myself a minimum of 2/3 weeks but generally the turn around schedule we use is about one month.

Can you ship?

Yes.  I can ship pieces – however the larger and heavier a piece is the most expensive shipping can be.  But there are ways to deliver most pieces without getting too expensive.

Prints of the Jack and the Lily are available for order here, and you can contact Aaron for questions and/or to inquire about a custom commission here.

Working with Aaron is a complete joy. I cannot recommend him as a person or artist more highly enough. Our commissions are one of my favorite talking points in our home, and pieces I know our entire family will cherish forever!

Stylishly yours,

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