... a commission
In order to get commissions you have to establish contacts with potential clients. You can do this by responding to advertisements for 'art in public space' in professional magazines or local newspapers. Apart from that, be active in doing acquisition and use your network. Make sure that you can be found too, on the internet for example. There are also intermediairies bringing artists and clients together.
You have to provide a good picture of what you can do for your client. This means informing yourself about his products, his company’s mission and position in the field. The initial contact is often written, as a response to an ad or as an open application. Explain in a short letter why you are contacting the client; enclose a CV and appropriate pictorial materials which show your style and some earlier assignments. You’ll only be invited for an interview if the client sees the possibility of an alliance.
When you present a proposal explain briefly how you decided on that form and what the considerations were. Discuss how you fulfilled the requirements of the assignment. Centre your presentation around the most powerful aspects of your project. If you forsee certain obstacles, explain how you plan to remove them.
Your brilliant idea may be on a beer coaster; that doesn’t make it understandable for anyone else yet. Your presentation should be appropriate in regard to content and magnitude: you present a calling card in a different way than you present a million-euro project. If you’re using a computer, video or beamer, make sure the equipment is working well. It is always smart to have a trial presentation for friends who will give you their honest opinion. Presentations also involve personal contact: you should both be speaking the same language.
The financial side
If you get the project you may do the work on commission or you may be employed. Each has its own advantages. What budget is available for the commission? How do you determine your own price? How are you going to negotiate about it? Try to be as realistic as possible and calculate some extra money for unforseen costs. You can find guidelines in the Dutch 'Landelijke Algemene Voorwaarden Kunstopdrachten (LAVK)' that might help you to manage the course and financial matters of the project.
If you don't get the commission, try to find out why not. Keep the contact positive so it might help you on future occasions.
- world of visual art: commission circuit
- doing business: page on marketing, including presentation (pdf), pricing (pdf), acquistion plan (pdf), approaching galleries (pdf), negotiation (pdf)
- law & contracts: working with a commission (pdf)
- law & contracts: page on model contracts with a link to LAVK (in Dutch)
- income & taxes: page on working to order