Licensing, Commissions & Contracts
One big part of fine art, is not just selling prints, but also other ways you can sell your images to make a profit and maintain your artistic license over those images. Which I think is super important. Because if you do not maintain your artistic integrity when you're creating, then is it really fine art? Probably not. Because fine art is the practice of creating for yourself first and foremost, from your vision, and then maybe selling that later to somebody who appreciates that vision. So if who you're working for does not appreciate that vision and they ask you to do something totally different, then that's not really in the fine art realm anymore, that's a commercial image that you're producing. So I want to talk about how we can create our work that we love, the fine art style of work, no matter what that looks like for you, and sell that to a wider array of people instead of just prints through galleries or something like that. So we've got licensing as an option, commissions as...
an option, and within those two categories, there are so many details that we are going to want to think about, and I'll be going over the differences between those two things as well. And one of the main things that I want to discuss in terms of licensing and commissions, are contracts. How can you determine the correct terms and conditions for licensing your images and creating commissioned portraits. Those two things are very interesting, very complex, and we're going to get through lots of information about them. So licensing versus commissions. What is the deal here? What is the difference between licensing the image and being hired for commissions. So the main thing that we're looking at here, is that licensing is the digital sale of an image, okay? And the usage limitations for both parties. I wanted to really stress for both parties here, because when you license an image, you're telling that person that you're licensing to, okay here's my picture this is what you can use it for. But right back at the artist, they're saying okay, this is what you can use that image for now. Because, it's sort of like duel ownership. You maintain the copyright at all times, so you don't have to worry about oh I've given my image away forever and ever or anything like that, but if you license to, for example, an author who has a book coming out, and you decide that you want to give that image to them with some terms and conditions attached, for example they can't use that picture outside of promotions for that specific book? Okay, then that's your condition for that person that's licensing your image. But then, you also have an obligation to them, to figure out if you're allowed to sell that image to anybody else at all, within the publishing world, maybe within a different world, in the fine art market, et cetera. And so there are all these terms that we're going to discuss and there are a lot to think about. So I'm going to lay them all out for you, and hopefully that will be clear, and simple, and easy. And then we have commissions. A commission is the creation of new artwork for a client. So I have examples of that here, which I'll be showing you in a second, and it would be really easy for me to show you these two books, and to say, they're both licensed. Do you believe me? Or they're both commissions? Do you believe me? There's no difference between these, really. I would create this image, I would create this image. I created both of these images. But, I created this one, one random day early morning, in a foggy field. And I made this one in bits and pieces as I worked with a large team of people to make this book cover. This was a commission, this was licensed. This image already existed, and somebody bought it. This one did not, and I was asked to create it. And that's the difference between these two images. And it's very unusual that we talk about fine art and commissions, because a commission is very often a commercial endeavor when someone says please create this thing, you create it, you give your client the product, and it's theirs. But in my case, I do things a little bit differently, where I maintain my artistry as much as possible. I'm still making something that I would produce. It's just with the aide of a team, and for a specific project. So there's some debate as to if commissions can be categorized under fine art. But this is my fine art class, and I say it is. At least for our purposes.