How much to commission a painting of a logo?
July 6, 2006 10:20 PM   Subscribe

How much should we expect to pay for an artist to create our logo on canvas?

We're redecorating our facility here in Toronto, and part of that includes commissioning an artist to execute a 24" x 30" oil painting based on our logo. (We do work in genetics, so it includes some chromosome-type thingy and lots of DNA 'letters')

Assuming we want a pretty faithful representation of the logo (not too much interpretation, per the boss's orders), how much are we looking at? Any recommendations for artists who take commissions in the GTA?
posted by greatgefilte to Media & Arts (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: (Just in case it's not clear, we already have the logo designed.)
posted by greatgefilte at 10:21 PM on July 6, 2006

An old friend of mine lives in Toronto and is very skilled at doing commissioned art of this kind. I've sent an email to the address in your profile.
posted by zadcat at 11:11 PM on July 6, 2006

Since you're talking about art, just about any price imaginable. You might pay $50 or you might pay $5000. Depends on how famous the artist is, the size and detail you want, the artist's mood when you strike a deal, and just about anything else. That said, if you're looking for something simple, there's no reason you couldn't hire a talented college art student for $100 or $200.
posted by tnoetz01 at 11:12 PM on July 6, 2006

Best answer: You should pay lots. And lots more, hopefully.

This kind of specified commission work is far from the sort that gives an artist hope or pleasure or satisfaction, nor would it help them sleep well at night - but hopefully it would pay the rent for at least a month, if not two.

Which would afford them to make the art that does help them better at night. And I mean that - it's not just about the rent. Fine art is often what one must do to keep from going literally insane - either from manic compulsion or from process of trauma or from needful discovery and experimentation or obsession over fulfilling some process (experimental or traditional) until they have either fulfilled their vision and process, or have gone mad and died young, or they've gone very, very mad and died old, penniless and forgotton.

There's a marginal chance in there somewhere that they've been successful while still alive and enjoyed some small rewards. This often has little to do with the quality or quantity of their art - unless they're named Wyland or Kinkade or you can find their work on jigsaw puzzles, enamal pins or coffee mugs at the local drug store.

I don't have any recommendations for the Toronto Area, but I have lots of experience in having lived with artists almost all of my life. And I live now as a real life, living-breathing, smelly, starving and always struggling fine artist in a live-work artist compound in the ghetto side of an arts district.

You may find that established "name" fine artists will be loathe to do the work as specified because it dilutes what they're trying to do - as well as their marketability to collectors. Fine artists are not printers or graphic designers - though many often begrudgingly moonlight as such.

And those aspiring artists that would chomp at the bridle-bit to just sell anything for once and not be broke for a brief period of time may not have sufficient skills to compose and complete the piece to specifications.

So if you can find a rare happy balance between the two, the answer is - emphatically - that you should pay them lots of money.

If the logo is fairly simple and it takes them perhaps a week of solid work to complete, you should compensate them with the value of a month or two months of rent or more. If it takes more than two weeks and up to three or four weeks of actual work to complete, consider two to three months of rent, or if you can afford it, four or more. (Remember, artists digs are often cheap and asture. We're not usually talking about a $3,000/month condo. My rents and basic utility bills are usually under $500/mo, sometimes under $300 USD.)

If you do the off-kilter artist's math I list above, that just about comes out to the average inexpensive side of a commissioned oil painting. Somewhere in the $500-3000 USD range, depending on detail, complexity, subject and so on. Supplies alone for a good canvas that size, a few new brushes and enough quality oils can easily reach $100-200 for a project like this.

It might sound pricy. But remember - above and beyond that it might have taken them years or all their lives to develop such a skill - it might be the only solid piece of cash they'll have for ages. People rarely buy art, and when they do, it's often underpriced by the artist or overbargained for by the collector.

Be good to whomever you find. Artists do more for society than drink cheap hooch and make inexplicable things. They're also often the ones fomenting politically in the background helping bring about positive, altruistic social change and spreading the good word and perhaps even thinking the deep thoughts.

Because it's what they must do to keep from going mad.
posted by loquacious at 11:16 PM on July 6, 2006 [5 favorites]

You're probably best off finding a professional illustrator who works in paint. They'll be the most comfortable with this sort of (yeah, fairly rote) work. loquacious' $500-$3000 estimate sounds about right. I would guess $1500. loquacious has gone a bit into the justifications for such a price, but let's run it out hourly: $75 an hour (not unreasonable for a skilled freelancer, possibly low, even), ~20 hours (not unreasonable for a medium like oil), plus or including supply costs which an illustrator would definitely bill you for. That would be my guess.
posted by furiousthought at 12:05 AM on July 7, 2006

Best answer: Strictly speaking, you could sign up as an artist on Deviant Art and submit a completed, stylized-as-you-see-fit, large-format, high-DPI copy of your logo as a piece, and have them print it on canvas for you. They offer canvas prints for around $170 for the size you specified, in high-quality archival oils.

I've no direct expierience submitting to them as an artist, and I know they're picky about format, and might not dig the one-off idea, but it could work perfectly for your purposes if you already have the art done.

This would be the polar opposite to loquacious' suggestion, which I admire and respect and encourage, but Deviant Art is a great site for artists looking to peddle some basic wares as well. (And though they're down at the moment, I think it's just a nightly maintenance thing.)
posted by disillusioned at 1:36 AM on July 7, 2006

What's the point of having an artist put your logo on canvas if your boss doesn't want the artist to take any liberties? Part of the reason for hiring an artist is to get their unique take on things.

There are shops that will print your logo art on canvas. If you want brush strokes (for that classy fine-art look) you can go over the printed canvas with some clear medium afterwards.

And, yeah, the above quotes of $500-$3000 sounds probable. Unless you want to go cheap and hire a student.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:38 AM on July 7, 2006

If all you're looking for is your logo on canvas, you can print on canvas on some of the newer large format inkjet printers. You'll then have to get the canvas put onto a frame. I doubt the whole thing would cost more than a $1000 (US).

If you're specifically looking for "hand made", I would suggest an old fashioned sign painter, who will probably have actual experience painting lettering on canvas and won't charge you a small fortune.
posted by doctor_negative at 5:10 AM on July 7, 2006

Response by poster: loquacious wins. If it were up to me, I'd hand the logo to a promising young thing and tell him/her to go crazy with it. And pay handsomely. On the reality side of things, it looks like it might be more practical to go the faux-arts route and do a canvas transfer.
posted by greatgefilte at 6:42 AM on July 7, 2006

I would suggest contact a local art school and offering a donation of a thousand dollars for 10 or 15 different versions of the logo. If you gave them some leeway on other versions, I'm sure they could do an exact duplicate on at least one.

a lot of different interpretations would be interesting and they could be placed in different areas or given as gifts to executives.
posted by Megafly at 4:53 PM on July 7, 2006

doctor_negative writes "If all you're looking for is your logo on canvas, you can print on canvas on some of the newer large format inkjet printers. You'll then have to get the canvas put onto a frame. I doubt the whole thing would cost more than a $1000 (US)."

HP's pigmented ink on canvas process from their large format plotters (up to 60" wide) is guaranteed to not fade for 2 years even when exposed to direct sunlight. Supplies are several dollars per square foot.
posted by Mitheral at 6:03 PM on July 7, 2006

« Older Culinary career change?   |   Replace the Teen Titans! Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.