When looking at pieces for inclusion in The Fifty some are easy and some are a bit harder to place accurately. As I said in my last post, the Simon Bisley commission I have of Dr. Strange and The Mindless Ones is one of the best pieces in my collection. Therefore its' inclusion was not even up for discussion. Then I looked at it among the other pieces and realized it was the only commission I had moved into the gallery.
You see, I may have a few pieces on display in The Fifty gallery on my CAF page but I have many many pieces in the gallery not yet active as well. So when I went to make the Bisley piece active I realized that the rest of the pieces are published pieces, pages and covers and the occasional pinup.
This made me think about what I was going for with The Fifty and if commissions really fit into my plans anymore at all. Because I once spent a large portion of my collection budget on convention sketches and home commissions. Seventy Five percent I would think. But those days are gone and in the last two years I have decided on far far fewer commissions and only a few sketches at any convention. I used to target about 20 artists and spend thousands of dollars on sketches and arranged commissions two or three times a year. No more.
I still get home commissions though. I got one of the two spots when Carlos Pacheco opened his list this past year. I got Dr. Strange and I love it. It is not for sale. It was $400, plus the stuff. But it will never be in The Fifty. It is 11X14 and just won't cut it in the end. So eventually it will be for sale. Five to ten years, but eventually. I have had a few Pacheco pieces over the years, even a published cover wit hDoc on it!, but have not yet found the one, the one that will make The Fifty. I would love a commission from someone like Art Adams, Mark Chiarello, or J H Williams 3rd (all possible sometime in my future so I hear) and will continue to give repeat business to people who have handled our past exchanges in exemplary fashion. That list includes Darryl Banks, Andy MacDonald, and Rudy Nebres - who have all agreed in principle but not specifics to their next assignments from Les Galleries Fedres.
And the same is true for convention sketches. Their is no way that I will not give money to Sean Chen for a convention sketch, especially more of the 17X5 pieces he has been doing for me these last few (FOUR!) years. Some guys, and some ladies as well, will always get my money if they have the time to take it. Andy MacDonald is again in this category. Tony Harris will never leave this category, even if eventually he will only draw cats and fish as superheroes and heroines from the 30s. And he will be dressed as Steampunk Tony as he does it! (Just kidding Tony, I love ya'! I always will! Come on up to NYCC or at least Baltimore!) Mark Texeira full figure graphic pieces when Renee is not around. (HA!) The days when I shell out $100 or $200 or $300 or even $500 (it'll be watercolor and everything!) hoping for the best are over. I spent ten thousand dollars over the last 5 years on convention sketches worth a grand on the open market. No more of that. But the guys I know are a sure thing, the Tonys and Andys and Marks, will always see my money at shows.
So I now forego those pieces for the most part in the quest for the next great piece. Or at least the next serious contender. But the ones that pan out? The ones that turn out truly special? Those may indeed find a spot next to The Biz in my comic art Valhalla! They have a chance at least, and now that I have thought it through I have a few more moved into the gallery awaiting active status. And as I look at them there, I know that they belong.