Commissioning an Artist – Bored by your décor onboard? Maybe it’s time for an update. Adding fine art is one of the easiest ways to jazz up your yacht’s interior. The most personal way to buy art is to commission an artist to create a single piece or a series, tailored to your individual taste and budget. Commissioning an artist can be very rewarding for both parties. The work will be personal and unique, made specifically for your yacht, and a relationship is developed between artist and collector.

Find an artist whose work you admire, inquire as to whether they accept commissions and get details on their policies regarding this type of business agreement. Be certain the artist is aware that the art will be exposed to a yachting environment. Accordingly, it’s advisable to stick with media such as metal sculpture or paintings on wood or canvas. Once that is understood and mutual interest is established, arrange to meet at the artist’s studio. Seeing his or her workspace will give you a clearer understanding of their creative style, the materials they use and how they work.


It is extremely helpful if the artist can visit your yacht to see the colour scheme and take measurements where the art will be displayed. If that is not possible, be sure to provide colour photographs of the interior and size of the space you have in mind.

At this point, there should be a signed work order or contract stating the conditions and details of your business arrangement. Many artists use a standard contract for such arrangements. To avoid surprises, be sure to agree on what materials will be used, the timescale, cost, pay structure and copyright beforehand.

The artist will probably create several sketches for your review before beginning the actual work. Once you and the artist decide on a final concept, it is common for him or her to require a deposit of up to 50 per cent to begin the work, in accordance with the signed contract.

Here are some questions to ask the artist:

•    Have you done commissions before, for whom and where?
•    What materials will you use to ensure the art can reasonably withstand a marine environment?
•    How do I care for this art?
•    Who is responsible for installing the work (if applicable)?
•    If you hold the copyright to this work, what are my rights?
•    How do you expect to be paid—by the hour, by the size of the piece, etc?
•    How will the work be delivered?
•    Who pays for delivery and insurance in transit, if shipped?
•    Do you prefer cash, cheque, money order or credit card?

In turn, expect the artist to ask you such questions as:

•    Which of my paintings do you like the most?
•    What is it you like?
•    What do you want to see in your commissioned piece(s)?
•    Is there anything you don’t like about my art or don’t want to see?
•    Do you have a colour combination in mind?
•    How many pieces did you have in mind?
•    Would a grouping be better than one large piece?
•    Where on your boat will the work be displayed?

While the work is in progress, you and the artist may wish to meet for a viewing and brief discussion on the direction of the work. Upon completion or delivery of the art, it is important that you examine it thoroughly for any damages. You may want to follow up with the artist to discuss the success of the commission, and to give and receive feedback. And finally, be sure to enjoy your new work of art as you show it off to friends, family, crew and other boaters!