Commissioning Art: Why and How?

Commissioning Art: Why and How?

That woven tapestry is a piece I commissioned from an amazing artist Woven by Willa

Many times when people reach out for a custom commission they confess, “I’ve never commissioned a piece of art before,” as if that is something to be embarrassed about! Let’s turn that embarrassment into empowerment!


Let’s first address the why commission a piece of art question. There are so many reasons to commission art that it’s really hard to think of a reason most of us have never done it.


  1. It’s a Beautiful Collaboration

One of my favorite parts about custom commissions is that these are the clients I interact with the most. Commission clients always end up being sort of my friends because we’ve talked so much, gotten to know each other and worked on this piece together. Relationships are the most important part of any business, heck, they are the most important parts of life! So I’m always excited when I get to work with a client, bringing their vision to life and getting to know them, their personality, and even their family. I always walk away from these client interactions more thankful for people.

  1. It’s Completely Custom

This is also what is special about custom commissions. Is your favorite work by a particular artist already sold? Or perhaps you love one piece in particular but would like the colors slightly different? Bam custom commissions are the way to go. You get a piece of art completely tailored to your taste and your space. I’ve commissioned several works from other artists and I always get something that is 100% my style, perfect for my room, made just for me. These shopping experiences are always better than store bought, and I don’t have to waste my time hunting around for the perfect piece when an artist I know and trust can make me exactly what I want.

  1. Commissioning Means Shopping Small

This may be my favorite part about custom commissions.  Shopping from small artists actually makes a difference in real people’s lives. When I commission a piece of art from an artist friend, I know that money is going toward putting food on the table, helping pay for doctors’ appointments, or a much-needed vacation for his or her family. Commissioning art and shopping small means real families lives are being changed for the better instead of lining the pockets of big corporations.

How to commission art?

That really depends on the artist. Some artists do not take commissions, but reaching out to ask is usually never something an artist minds. If they don’t take commissions they usually have that information available on their website, but if not, you can always shoot them an email.

Every artist handles commissions differently. Some require contracts, some have long waitlists, some only take a handful of commissions a year. No commission experience will be the same with any two artists that you work with but there is also beauty in experiencing different processes. So if there is an artist you’ve had your eye on, shoot them a message and ask about a commission!

Decorate Your Dorm For Under $50!

Decorate Your Dorm For Under $50!

Ahh college! back to the grindstone! Another year of new classes, new friends, new room, another set of expensive textbooks! But what if you could decorate your dorm room for less than the cost of one of your textbooks! That really puts this into perspective. Option A. buy that $150 text book so that you can read two sentences on page 48… or…. Option B. borrow the book from a friend and spend $50 on redecorating your dorm room.  Quality of life or textbook. Eanie Meanie….

While you decide over there here are some under $50 dorm room essentials for this fall.

Throw Pillows! These are the answer for your boring dorm blues. Throw a few of these on your bed, or on a chair in your room and add a pop of color, $29.Christine_Olmstead_dorm_Room1


Art Prints! Art prints are a great way to add some color and some of your own flair to those boring and hideous dorm room walls. Browse a wide variety of framed art prints. Framed and easy to hang, $42.


Carry All Clutches! These are perfect as makeup bags, wallets, nick knacks, $15.


Tote Bags! Carry your books and computer around campus and to and from classes in an easy and stylish tote, $20.


Rugs! Cover up that ugly and gross dorm floor with a fresh, fun, clean rug, $28.


Wall Tapestries! You can’t paint those dorm room walls, and heaven knows they’re not getting more attractive add a splash of color and cover up those walls with a tapestry! $43.


Laptop Sleeves! Protect your computer as you bump around campus, keep it safe and damage free! $36.


Throw Blankets! Curl up to study in this fluffly cozy throw blanket. Don’t let your dorm room be cold or inhospitable!  $49.


Get this school year off to the right start! Get your dorm room cozy and in a comfortable position so you can be your best self and do your best studying!

What’s the Deal with Art Shipping?

What’s the Deal with Art Shipping?

Shipping is the worst part of being in the art industry. I’ve shipped some pieces to clients where shipping cost more than the painting itself! WHAAAA?! That’s crazy talk. It is crazy talk, I’m fully aware.

I have cried more about shipping than over anything else in my life probably. Here is why shipping costs so much and why it isn’t new.

1. Shipping has always cost a ton!

Shipping hasn’t changed, we have. Consumers (myself included) have been conditioned to almost expect free shipping when ordering a product (thanks, Amazon). Other companies slash their shipping fees by more than half, just to compete sometimes. But here’s the truth. It is a part of their ad budget. Free shipping doesn’t mean nobody has to pay for it, it means Amazon sees shipping as ad dollars because people are usually willing to buy more when they don’t pay for shipping. Small retailers like me, who ship huge awkward size boxes often can’t afford to eat the shipping costs and roll it into ad dollars, because we aren’t selling millions of products a day. And people don’t necessarily buy more art when the shipping is free, sometimes they just like one piece in particular.

2. Shipping Insurance

This hikes up the price of shipping too. I fully insure every piece I ship. I insure all of my pieces fully so that should a piece arrived damaged to you, I can repay you in full, or create you a new piece with new materials. If at all possible I hand deliver my pieces in person. There is no better delivery or insurance than myself. I deliver to clients in the D.C. metro area. If you’re in the area ask about free delivery!

3. Tracking is actually a lot of work

Have you ever tracked a package that you sent across the country? That one package that you wrapped up with tender loving care, prayed over, blessed with holy water, and paid $600 to ship is loaded and unloaded on planes and trucks dozens of times. Every time it is loaded and unloaded it gets scanned so that you can know where your package is at all times! On an anecdotal note, once I was tracking a package and it got stuck somewhere in Ohio for a week with no explanation, (my client was a bit pissed). I literally called the UPS store where my package got stuck and said, “Hey what’s the deal? Why hasn’t my package moved in a week? It was supposed to get there 3 days ago.” They had no explanation for me except it just was hanging out in the backroom and no one picked it up. It was picked up the next day and I got a partial refund on shipping that I was able to give back to my client. It didn’t solve all the problems, but when we realize that real human beings have to interact with our packages many times before it reaches us, it sort of makes sense why shipping is more expensive.

Those are the reasons shipping costs can be cray cray. Fortunately, shipping unstretched art in a tube, or using Genie Canvas can help alleviate these costs.

I would love to hear your insane shipping stories in the comments below. What is your biggest shipping headache?

My Favorite Social Media Platform!

My Favorite Social Media Platform!

Pinterest is my favorite social media platform! What?!? You thought it was going to be Instagram didn’t you? Nope! Pinterest is far and away my favorite platform! Here are the reasons why I love it, why you should love it too, and why you and I should become Pinterest BFFs!

  1. It’s Pretty

Pinterest is by far one of the prettiest social media channels because it provides you endless content based on what you are looking for. I go to Pinterest as a means of relaxation to browse the pretty and curated feed. Facebook definitely isn’t pretty, Instagram can be pretty but not searchable, and let’s just not talk about how fugly (definition upon request) Twitter is.

  1. It Doesn’t Use Hashtags

People used to use hashtags on Pinterest before Pinterest starting blocking and deliberately hiding those posts. And can I just say, #ImSoFrickinTiredOfHashtags. But seriously, I really really hate that hashtags are the only way to find content on Instagram. I’d much rather search what I’m looking for using the normal English language.

  1. It Doesn’t Feel Like Work

Instagram kind feels like work now that I have to search out the people I follow to see their content (thanks a lot algorithm). With Pinterest, I basically feel like a museum curator that gets to pick and choose what goes into my highly selective boards. I also can pin and re-pin to my heart’s delight and all of the credit goes to the original content creator, unlike Instagram where you could be in violation of copyright infringement if you repost without permission. On Pinterest the original pinner can keep the credit! And I L-O-V-E IT when every content creator gets the credit they are due.

  1. You Can Pin from Anywhere

If you have the Pinit button installed in your browser, you can literally pin any image on the internet. This kind of user-friendly doesn’t happen anywhere else. Pinterest is literally making your life as easy as possible. Speaking of easy as possible….

  1. Buyable Pins are My Jam!

Hello! You can shop directly from Pinterest. No other social media platform currently lets you do this. If you see something you like on the buyable pins section, you can buy it right there. Boom. Done. Instant Gratification.

  1. Image Specific Links

Here’s something I’ve always hated about Instagram. You cannot have a unique link in every image you post. You have to link to it in your profile. This really sucks when you are browsing someone’s Instagram feed and the recipe for “the best cake ever,” was posted two months ago and the link is long gone. In order to find that link, you have to go to their blog and hope and pray that the link is somewhere buried in their blog and that it wasn’t an outside link. The point is that it’s not user-friendly. On Pinterest, every single photo can have its own unique link that never goes away. Say goodbye to link frustration.

  1. It’s Not Date Specific

Unlike Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or any other platform, Pinterest isn’t hung up on time. Meaning if your favorite blogger posted something 3 years ago and you search the right key words, their pins relating to those keywords will be the first to show up. If you search, “Christine Olmstead north gold” on Pinterest my painting “North Gold” will be the first thing that shows up, the most popular pin first, no matter when it was posted or by whom it was posted. All other platforms show posts in chronological order and some of them you can’t even use search terms like these intuitive ones.

  1. Group Boards are the Bomb!

I love collaborating with other people on group boards! It is such a fun thing to do. A group of you can curate a board together and collaborate with people you might never have the chance to work with in real life. It’s a really fun exercise in creativity and collaboration. I host a group board for Artists where we share our work! It is so fun to see what my peers are working on and supporting them by repining. If you’d like to join our art board send me an email with your Pinterest handle and I’ll add you to our board:

Those are just 8 small reasons why Pinterest is my favorite social media platform! Do you have another platform that is your favorite? Or do you hate Pinterest? Tell me below. Add me as a friend on Pinterest and I’ll add you back! Invite me to your group board and I’d love to collab with you! Let’s Pin!