A One-of-a-Kind Gift of Commissioned Art is not as Out of Reach as you Think...

Caroline at EatDrinkLA

After giving gifts to the same people for decades, one often runs out of ideas. How do you surprise that special someone when you've already done all the personal photo gifts and scrapbooks you can think of? In an era where we all get the things we want, the second we want it anyway, how are we supposed to shop for people anymore? If you're looking for a truly unique and thoughtful present for someone, I'm here to tell you that a one-of-a-kind gift of commissioned art might be just what you're looking for, and you don't have to have Medici money to do it.

What is a Commissioned Artwork?

A commissioned artwork is when you contact an artist to create a custom work of art for you and yourself alone. It generally involves a bit of collaboration between you and the artist because they are essentially bringing your vision to life, but in their signature style. It is a balancing act where you let someone see inside your head and hopefully create something beyond your wildest dreams.

Heart StringsPhoto Credit: Aegean Design

Tips on Where to Find the Perfect Artist

The first logical place you'll probably think of going is to a gallery in the city you live in. While that's a great starting point if you have no idea what you're looking for, there is a chance that the artists you'll be put in touch with will have to give a percentage back to the gallery where their work resides. Why not skip the middleman and take advantage of what our overly connected world has to offer you by directly to the artist instead?

Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram provide ideal ways to find an artist to work with. You can peruse their work online and contact them from there. The hashtag #artistsoninstagram allows you to see over a hundred million posts in multiple mediums with just the swipe of a finger.

My biggest tip is to start with your actual network of friends and colleagues when looking for the perfect artist. There's a good chance that some uber-creative person you went to high school with actually followed their dreams and made a career out of it. The personal relationship will most likely bring about a gift of commissioned art with more heart and soul and maybe even less money than a stranger would.

But what if you really can't think of anyone? That's where this article comes in handy :).

SkyrocketPhoto Credit: Aegean Design

Meet Aegea Barclay

When I began my own journey to commission a work of art for my ten-year wedding anniversary, I didn't think it would be possible. The idea for the gift was like a lightning bolt in my mind, but it was quickly extinguished when I began looking around to see what artists in Los Angeles were charging for their work. Mind you, this is art that is already out in the world! A custom painting was definitely out of the question unless I had an extra ten to twenty grand lying around.

That's when Facebook came to the rescue, reminding me that I had an artist in my wide net of contacts. I emailed Aegea Barclay of Aegean Design, an abstract artist in the Pacific Northwest, where my husband is from, and reintroduced myself. Although I was timid to ask about commissioned work, I knew I could at least afford the work she was already showing on her website, so even if she said no, I could still get a gorgeous gift for my husband, albeit not a custom one.

She welcomed my request, and we settled on a price and canvas size to match. She offers exceptionally fair pricing for an artist of her caliber with work that hangs at the Starbucks Headquarters in Seattle, the Foster/White Gallery, and the Four Seasons. Not to mention that I would now have something in common with both Charlie Sheen and Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers (and it's not living in Los Angeles :)).

Over the phone, we discussed what I wanted the painting to mean and some of my favorite colors. While she offers the option of checking in periodically to ensure you are happy with the piece, I gave her free reign to create based on the information I gave her. My anniversary date only allowed about five weeks of work - but she is able to create something with only a month lead-in time, which is pretty impressive. Her mission is to bring color into people's lives -- and being able to make this extraordinary gift possible for my husband has just lit up my whole world.

The Show Must go OnPhoto Credit: Aegean Design

Now it's your Turn

If you're ready to give your walls the dose of culture they are craving, then it's time to get some artwork on there. And if you don't have any artists in your network, feel free to borrow from mine and contact Aegea Barclay to upgrade your artistic life. If you haven't already guessed, all the paintings you see on this post are from Aegean Design, and there is much more on her website, along with pricing. Also, check out her Instagram and Facebook if you want to see more paintings. The best way to get in touch about commissioning your own work of art will be via email at AegeanDesignArt@gmail.com.

Are you reading this in November? Then you still have a chance to get your own commissioned art for the holidays at a special discount! Just email and mention this article. The gift of commissioned art will be the one they will never forget.

Sold Painting by Aegea BarclayPhoto Credit: Aegean Design

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Specializing in the best of Los Angeles! I want to show you how to eat, drink, and live your best Los Angeles every day of the week. My favorite style of articles to share are listicles and "best of" roundups.

Los Angeles, CA

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