Inspiration blog: 6 misconceptions about commissioned art


Some people will argue that the truest form of art is always autonomous. However, the attraction between art and business has increased, leading to impressive collaborations. Even though these worlds are usually seen as extreme opposites!

Arttenders believes that outstanding and immersive art projects can definitely be created through the collaboration between art and business. But there are still many misconceptions about the creative quality of these projects. In this blog, we would like to dispel a few common myths about commissioned art!

Commissioned art is inauthentic

Arttenders Cao Fei RMB City Hermes 2011

Artist: Cao Fei – RMB City for Hermès

What’s the point of a collaboration if you give the artist strict guidelines, such as what colors to use? To get the maximum out of a project, commissioners need to allow creative breathing space. You always strive for a final result that is representative of and beneficial to both parties! This doesn’t mean giving up autonomy though.

Sometimes the commissioner rings the bell at the right time. The collaboration then just provides the means to create a work that was already in the artist’s mind. An example? China’s raising art star Cao Fei, who participated in Hermès “H-BOX” exhibition. Still, her video was actually part of a project that she had already planned to realize. What a perfect match!

The aim of commissioned art is to increase sales

Arttenders Marc Quinn Iris Illy Art Collection 2019

Artist: Marc Quinn – “Iris” for Illy Art Collection

Usually the majority of people overlook the non-numeric value of collaborations. Creative commissions have a much broader impact and, hard to believe, profit is not the main outcome. How many people have drunk from Andy Warhol’s Vodka bottle? How many have worn a Van Gogh on their feet? Compared to brick-and-mortar institutions, brand collaborations make art visible to more people. They allow everyone to own a masterpiece! What’s “pop” and “high” blurs, and commerce and culture converge.

Illy Art Collection transforms coffee cups from an object of everyday use into a white canvas. Each edition features a different artist, allowing everyone to combine the pleasures of coffee and art! This year, you could even find yourself drinking from one of the unique “Iris” by Marc Quinn.

Art should serve aesthetic purposes

Arttenders PolyLester Studio Mo Man Tai

Photo Credits: PolyLester and Studio Mo Man Tai

Whoever still believes that aesthetics exclude functionality did not see how the impact of integrated art can exceed expectations. The glory of art is no longer in its pure “uselessness” alone . Even if visual attractiveness helps to make a connection, it is more than just a pleasing design. A strategic use of art can result in extraordinary experiences that surprise users and commissioners alike. Not yet convinced?

To encourage the use of the stairs, Deloitte Netherlands is employing the transformative power of art. To meet this practical objective, an average staircase will be transformed into an immersive brand experience. Arttenders has been commissioned to initiate and realize the project. We are in the middle of pitching for this project with two artists, Studio Mo Man Tai and PolyLester. Read all about this exciting trajectory here!

Art should be timeless

Arttenders David McLeod Supermundane Dolby Art Series

Photo Credits: Dolby Laboratories

How we dress, what we drink, and how we behave changes through time, so why should art be timeless? Artists change the world around us by challenging our perspectives. It’s an opportunity to improve, to innovate. There’s no need to seek for the “forever contemporary” to be future-proof. Transformations are unavoidable and moving forward is what keeps us alive, isn’t it?

An example of a brand that is not change-resistant is Dolby, that often invites artists to reinterpret the logo. Starting from its iconic double-D,  each creation inspires creativity and stimulates innovation. Use the transformative power of art to reach new dimensions!

Commissioned art is just a branding strategy

Arttenders_Chapman Brothers_Louis Vuitton_2017

Photo Credits: Louis Vuitton

Following popular opinion, brands seek artists to enhance their status. But collaborations can be much more than a marketing strategy. By pushing the boundaries between the corporate and artistic worlds, they can bring fresh thinking and truly original ideas. Creative challenges can become perfect innovation catalysts!

When Louis Vuitton partnered up with the Chapman Brothers, the result was an outstanding collection combining French style, punk vibes and Africa’s wildness. What’s more, the collaboration led to the opening of the world’s first 3D printed pop-up store. This created an immersive experience perfect to celebrate the artists and their partnership!

Only well-known artists get commissioned for collaborations

Arttenders LifeWtr 2019

Photo Credits: Elijah Wayne

Many high-brand projects involve successful artists, but the winner doesn’t always take it all. Creative collaborations benefit young talents too! They can launch their careers, gain exposure and improve their professional skills whilst making their art. When the vision is to challenge and inspire, nothing is better than fresh new perspectives.

LIFEWTR by PepsiCo is committed to advancing and showcasing multiple sources of creativity. Every few months, this bottled water brand launches a new series of designs focused on a unique aspect in art. To offer different points of view, the spotlight is always put on emerging artists. After all, inspiration is as essential to life as water!