Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Custom Artwork Contracts

16x20 Oil on Canvas

In this post, I will share thoughts about custom artwork contracts and details to include in the document. This is a continuation of my previous post, “Quoting Custom Artwork.” It is intended for both the artist and the client and does not serve as legal advice.

As information is gathered, both parties should determine if a signed contract is  necessary. Here are other questions to consider: 

As the Artist:  

·         How confident are you about achieving the client’s vision?
·         Can you complete the project within the requested deadline?
·         Do you have enough information?
·         How much of a financial risk are you taking?
·         What is the size and scope of the project?
Being clear about your abilities is most essential.  You may be asked to do projects outside of your specialty area. If that’s the case, turn down the job and refer the client to another expert in the field. For example, I have declined offers for painting wall murals and made suggestions for muralists in the area.
On the other hand, I have accepted painting projects in a variety of subjects and styles that were challenging and successful (meaning that the client was happy). I gained valuable insight from the interactions and used the experience to revise processes and business practices.
As the Client:
If an artist submits a signed contract, you can accept this as a good sign, especially when it involves multiple or complex projects. This is another method to confirm your specifications. Read the document carefully and ask additional questions that may not be included, such as:
·         What is the deposit amount?
·         What is your return / refund policy?
·         What occurs if the painting is damaged in transit?
·         Will you make changes to the painting?
Note: Many artists do not accept refunds for custom artwork, due to the time and supplies involved.  Review pictures of the painting before it is mailed to you.

The Final Contract 

The artist drafts the initial contract based on the details discussed via email, phone, and in person.  Some have standard documents on file and simply need your signature. 

In my opinion, the information should be revised until everyone involved agree to the terms. The final contract becomes a tool for future reference. But in the end, I have found that communication throughout the entire project ensures the best outcomes. 

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