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Original art: commission vs published piece

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I know I've asked this before, and I know that there are suddenly lots of threads about original art. But I wanted to discuss this issue without having other topics being discussed at the same time in the same thread.....

 

I'm looking for thoughts on buying original art. Do you prefer to buy published pieces, or do commission work? Now, for the big name artists and titles, I can understand the desire to get published work if you can afford it. But what about for the smaller guys? I'm really intersted in a large number of young artists, and I'm torn between picking up a page/cover from one of their books, or asking them for commision work. I guess I'm looking for the pros/cons of each.

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That answer really depends on why you're buying the art. If it's for resale you will almost alwats get a better price on a published piece. Of course a nice commission cover-like piece will alway bring more than the run of the mill pannel page.

 

However, you can usually get a better profit margin on commissions -- not as many people have stepped on it. I.e. Adam Hughes sells con sketches for $100. On eBay the same sketch will being $200 - $300. You can get and Adam Hughes Tomb Raider cover for $4000 - $5000 but you're not going to be able to flip it very quickly for a profit. You will have to wait and hope the market goes up.

 

If your looking at resale on new artists you would probably be better off to buy a published piece. You can sometimes get them for a good price and they will see the most appreciation in the short term. However, many new artists are charging what I consider to be insane prices for their art. Like I told one guy last week... I can either buy this Michael Lark splash page for $600 or I can get a published Berni Wrightson page... guess who I went with.

 

For just straight collecting purposes I say for with commissions (unless there is a published piece that really catches your eye). If you put some effort into thinking about what you really want you will almost always be happy with it.

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I'm still unfamiliar with how much to expect to pay for a page or a cover. A lot of the artists I'm interested in, are totally new and some have only one published book or miniseries. Should I expect to pay $50, or closer to $500?

 

I guess what I'd really like to do is get a published piece so I can have the art that originally go me interested in the artist in the first place. Then I'd like them to do a commission based on something I'd like on my walls. But if getting that published piece is going to cost me half a pay check, I'll never have the cash to get the commission.

 

Ah, decisions decisions.

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I'm still unfamiliar with how much to expect to pay for a page or a cover. A lot of the artists I'm interested in, are totally new and some have only one published book or miniseries. Should I expect to pay $50, or closer to $500?

 

I guess what I'd really like to do is get a published piece so I can have the art that originally go me interested in the artist in the first place. Then I'd like them to do a commission based on something I'd like on my walls. But if getting that published piece is going to cost me half a pay check, I'll never have the cash to get the commission.

 

Ah, decisions decisions.

 

Covers will almost always (99.9% of the time) run you at LEAST a couple hundred dollars. I think commissions are really cool, particularly when it's a reinterpreted cover or any other more "iconic" image. But I have no idea how much they cost...

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Published pages are the way to go. Everybody here knows Im a 'champion' of OA,..but between commission pieces and CGC comics,..Id have to say CGC books are the way to go. Commissions generallyshould not be considered good investments. Provenance issues arise with commission pieces,..and the value of 'directing the artist to create your piece' doesnt translate very well into the market. In fact,..I kinda think commissions are [#@$%!!!],..and one day the market will completely fall out,...kinda like restrored books,...artificial supply of a sort.

 

As for unpublished pieces,.....I also think provenenace issues arise but this can be overcome if certain evidentiary characteristics are satisfied,..such as connsensus its in the artists hand,...POublishing Stamp on Back of piece etc,..

 

But honestly,..if you want to select a good investment,..you really should only be buying published pages.

 

Heck,...even Ditko could today,...February 27th draw a alternate cover to Spiderman # 3 and someone would say,.....this is the unpublished cover that Marvel passed on,....but with a published piece,...you know the where, when, why etc....

 

Stick with Cover's,...

 

and you wont go wrong !!!

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Destro, I hear what you're saying, but for me, investment is only a minor concern. Sure, I'd love to have everything I buy turn into something valuable later in life, but it's definately not a motivating factor.

 

The way I see it, if I ever sold my collection of comics or art or whatever, if I get what I paid then I'd be happy. Until then, I just want to be happy with what I collect.

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Destro, I hear what you're saying, but for me, investment is only a minor concern. Sure, I'd love to have everything I buy turn into something valuable later in life, but it's definately not a motivating factor.

 

The way I see it, if I ever sold my collection of comics or art or whatever, if I get what I paid then I'd be happy. Until then, I just want to be happy with what I collect.

 

What books/genres/eras are you interested in? If you were to begin buying published pieces, what books would you want them from?

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I'd go with published pieces whenever possible. As has been said, they are much more liquid, & interior pages are relatively inexpensive. Some artists will also sell covers at a reasonable price, but you really have to develop a relationship with the artist & hope other collectors don't swoop in, buy the stuff cheap & immediately flood ebay with the stuff. Note to self, "artist's hate seeing their stuff on ebay right after they sell it, especially if it is going for a higher price."

 

On the commission front, I hate to bring it up, but some artists are not exactly dependable. I started getting commissions in 98 or 99 & pretty much was soured on it by 01. I've had a 60 day commission stretch into 2+ years & had artists totally disappear & break contact. If your having them done at conventions, it shouldn't be problem, otherwise be careful & network with other collector's on who the problem artists are. It doeesn't matter how many good reports I hear, if I get one or 2 negative reports I avoid the artist like the plague.

 

Good luck.

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As Strongguy said, it all depends on your reasons for buying the art. If you just want a nice image to hang on your wall, and you don't have unlimited amounts of cash, comissions and recreations are the way to go. Even for contemporary artists who are not yet established, published covers will still run several hundred dollars on average.

 

If you're talking about investment or liquidity, that's another subject all together. Comissions/drawings/recreations are not rare, particularly for artists who are still actively working, so there won't be room for apreciation. And even really nice published pieces are not very liquid, so I wouldn't buy an expensive piece unless I knew I would be holding it for a long time.

 

I posted this in another thread, but I recently got an amateur artist to recreate the cover for DD #188 for me. I paid for the artist's time, and in terms of resale value it's pretty much worthless, but I love the image and I'm satisfied with a replica. I've already chosen to collect high grade Silver and Bronze comics, so this is a cheap way for me to get an art fix without sacrificing comic collecting.

 

DD188cvr.jpg

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The way I see it, if I ever sold my collection of comics or art or whatever, if I get what I paid then I'd be happy. Until then, I just want to be happy with what I collect.

 

If you're worried about recouping what you spent, you're better off with published pieces. Comissions/recreations should be purchased solely with disposable income, and treated as such.

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The way I see it, if I ever sold my collection of comics or art or whatever, if I get what I paid then I'd be happy. Until then, I just want to be happy with what I collect.

 

If you're worried about recouping what you spent, you're better off with published pieces. Comissions/recreations should be purchased solely with disposable income, and treated as such.

 

I would agree with this. Commissions are very tough to sell again. Getting a commission is a very personal thing, and the next buyer won't have the same attachment that you have to it. In contrast, a published piece has a sentimental attachment to potentially thousands of people, and their attachment may be greater than yours... hence the price may and usually does increase over time.

 

A large part of why I collect original art is because I want the actual piece of art to a personally meaningul comic book, that was physically touched and worked on by the penciler, inker, letterer, etc. There is an inherent meaning to that, as well as vintage.

 

But, if you just want a pretty picture of a favorite character, by your favorite artist, then commissions are perfect. Just don't expect to make your money back. Sometimes you will, but usually you won't.

 

Best,

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Destro, I hear what you're saying, but for me, investment is only a minor concern. Sure, I'd love to have everything I buy turn into something valuable later in life, but it's definately not a motivating factor.

 

The way I see it, if I ever sold my collection of comics or art or whatever, if I get what I paid then I'd be happy. Until then, I just want to be happy with what I collect.

 

What books/genres/eras are you interested in? If you were to begin buying published pieces, what books would you want them from?

Right now, to start, I'm mostly interested in Bronze and Modern books. For the Modern books, I'm interested in owning pieces from artists I interview for brokenfrontier.com. My desire to own original art actually started as a way to remember the interview, and to own a piece of the book we talked about.

 

As for the commissions, I would probably ask the artists to draw their favorite Edgar Rice Burroughs characters. The ERB books are what got me interested in reading when I was a kid, which translated into me being interested in film and comics. So I thought it'd be cool to have some of my favorite, relatively unknown artists draw Tarzan, or John Carter, or Dejah Thoris, or whatever.

 

As I said earlier, what I should do is probably buy an interior page to remind me of the interview, then get a comission for my wall. Or something to that effect.

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