Introduction

Commissioned Paintings

Details of commissioning a painting.
If you don't want to buy a painting for sale listed on this Web site, you can email me with photos showing me the idea you have in mind for a custom painting, or phone me to discuss your idea. You can also commission an artistic portrait of yourself or someone you know.


If an art dealer is involved in the transaction, the prices would higher. to reflect the dealers' costs. 


Allow a minimum of five months for me to paint a commisioned painting, as I have a variety of other projects going on at any given time.


Comparing painting prices.
Some people have complained that my painting prices are too high compared to other artists' prices.  They don't understand that my paintings are very labor-intensive because the images are detailed, realistic and precise.


For example, my painting prices have been compared to a the prices of some abstract paintings.  


Abstract painters can paint whatever they want because there are no rules required to paint abstractly – no rules of perspective, light and shade, matching of tones, values and hues, and abstract artists aren't required to realistically paint objects such as trees and buildings and figures.  S


Therefore, some abstract painters can complete a painting in a few hours , whereas I must labor precisely and over a long period of time to achieve my photo-realistic/impressionistic look.


So of course the complaint that my prices are too high compared to loosely painted paintings such as abstract paintings is ludicrous.


Abstract paintings don't require talent.
It's easy to prove that abstract paintings don't necessarily even require talent when you consider that fact that even a few monkeys and elephants have become famous abstract painters.


No monkeys or elephants have become famous realistic painters (because they're not capable of painting realistically, because that painting realistically requires talent and technical skills such as understanding lighting, perspective, color harmony and balance. 


The prices of my paintings are low compared to many other artists who demonstrate less talent than I do.
I've noticed that many customers balk at the prices of my paintings, yet my prices are low compared to some artists who paint loosely and impressionistically and who show less talent than I do.

A good example of this is the Vancouver artist Tinyan, who is a formulaic painter. He's discovered that a certain type of painting sells well, so he keeps on painting the same, basic version of a few themes, so that the paintings become basically indistinguishable from one another.   See this Web page to see what I mean.  Or see the few samples here:

The winter them with black creek, white birches and orange bush.  They're all basically the same.

The garden theme.  They're all basically the same.

The boat theme.  They're all basically the same.


The artist paints the same few themes over and over again, with small variations, so the images look like cookie-cutter paintings.  You can barely tell them apart.

I recently saw one of Tinyan's paintings at a gallery, priced at $12,000.  Art galleries generally charge a 50 percent commission.  So the artist is grossing $6,000 per painting and making lots of money by cranking out basically the same images over and over again.

Contrast that to my images, all of which are unique. Although there are similarities among some of my images, I demonstrate far more diversity and therefore creativity in my paintings at a much more reasonalbe price.

My paintings are only one-third the price of Tinyan's, yet some customers still complain that my prices are too high.

Another point to consider that Tinyan's painting style – although distinctive – is not unique.  Many people, however, have said that my painting style IS unique and immediately identifiable.

And the fact that my paintings are very realistic means that my paintings are much more labor-intensive than the impressionistic style of aritsts such as Tinyan's, which look like they were dashed off.

So when people criticize my painting prices for being too high, they should consider the precision, reativity and uniqueness of my images versus the cookie-cutter images of some other artists such as Tinyan.

At $6,000 to $6,000, my paintings are a bargain compared to formulaic artists such as Tinyan and many other formulaic, impressionist and abstract painters, and I display far more talent and diversity than they do. 

So art buyers should be aware of these things when shopping for art:  How much talent, uniqueness and effort goes into painting the paintings?

Gullible buyers are being duped by the slick marketing campaigns of high-end art galleries into believing that the formuaic, cookie-cutter paintings of particular artists are worth very high prices.

 

Modern art trash
Similarly, much modern art also lacks talent.  For example, the Art Gallery of Canada spent 1.8 million taxpayer dollars to acquire the famous (and infamous) "Three Stripes" painting.  How could critics claim that my paintings (which are no more than a few thousand dollars each) are overpriced considering that "Voice of Fire" sold for 1.76 million dollars?  "Voice of Fire" could have been painted by a child, whereas my realistic paintings take tremendous talent and technical expertise to create.  One art critic said that the National Gallery's purchase and touting of "Voice of Fire" is "the biggest art fraud in Canadian history."

"Voice of Fire"

 


"The Jewish Cemetery"


Consider also examples of talentless, atrociously overvalued art such as "The Jewish Cemetery" by talentless Canadian photographer Jeff Wall.
This dull, boring snapshot sold at a Christie's art auction for over $473,000. Yet some people complain that my paintings are overpriced at $3,000 to $6,000.  This is another example of the crazy, topsy-turvy world of art, in which the fame of the artist – rather than the talent of the artist – determines the art prices.  The inflated values also of course reflect the insanity of both the art dealers and the art collectors; a photo as dull as this by an ordinary citizen would get nothing but a glance and a yawn.


My painting prices reflect the time and money spent on failed art pieces too.
Also, people generally don't understand how much work goes into painting. The cost of my paintings doesn't just reflect the time it took me to paint the painting; it also has to incorporate the hundreds of paintings that I started and abandoned because I couldn't get them to work out, and the thousands of mock-ups I worked on that I also gave up on.


Painting prices should reflect decades of sacrifice.
According to the O.E.C.D. (Organization for Economic Co-operaton and Development) the average Canadian worker worked 32.8 hours per week in 2013 (the latest year that data is available for). Compare that with my hours worked: For many years I worked – an average of 49 hours per week, which is 16.1 hours per week more than the average Canadian. That means that annually I work 837.2 hours more than the average Canadian, which is the equivalent of 25.5 more work weeks than the average Canadian worker.  I didn't have a good choice; I had to work that hard just to stay in business. So my painting prices should reflect that sacrifice as well – a sacrifice that the average Canadian employee doesn't make to survive.


Add to that the fact the fact that the average Canadian worker gets at least two weeks of paid vacations and job benefits such as sick days and pay for lunch breaks. Artists don't get any of those perks. For many years I even worked on statutory holidays just to survive.



Painting prices must incorporate overhead.
I find that many people have no idea of what's required to be a pinter.  They think that a painter sits at his easel and paints all the time.  And  I found that many people who haven't run their own business tend to not even understand the difference between gross income and net income.                                                                  

That is, every painting must also include my costs of running my business, such as my rent; time and money spent on shopping for art supplies, office supplies and printing supplies; time spent communicating with customers; time and money spent on tax issues; time spent organizing my studio and changing exhibitions in my studio; time and money spent on researching and paying for my advertising costs; time and money spent on filing and paying bills such as phone, rent and supplies, time and money spent on developing and maintaining my Web site; time and money spent on researching equipment such as computer storage, cameras, computer equipment upgrades, and painting methods and materials; time and money spent to travel to places where I get my inspiration for my art; time and money spent on travels for buying and researching sundry supplies; time and money spent on researching and buying packaging supplies,  and time spent on reading industry periodicals, etcetera.


So if I charge $ $6,000 or $7,000 for a painting, much of that money goes toward the costs of running the art business instead of being profit. 


Twenty-five years to paint a painting.
Because of all of these activities and sacrifices that are necessary for a painter to do, and which don't involve painting, when people ask me how long it takes to paint a painting, I half-jokingly tell them "25 years" because that's how long it took me to develop my current level of expertise and level of success.


Email me to inquire about commissions or call me at 604-985-4262.


Map of location of Tony Max's studio gallery.