Baby's going to therapy, and I'm thrilled. People who know me have had to listen to the "product vs art" conversation that's on a loop in my head, and maybe I can recontextualize that with a professional. The above photo is a mock-up of a huge hand pillow I made for a client, technically under my Jumbo Jibbles product umbrella.
This was a weird job, because the client was so thrilled working with me, then happy with the product, but then decided it was all wrong. If I was a plumber, it'd be easy to see if the job had been done right (perhaps it would go bad years down the road, but the cause would not be impossible to suss out). What I make has the ingredient of emotion*, which makes the process unstable. Whether it is "right", is totally up to the whims of the client that day.
But I kept this mock-up, and it lives on our couch, one of the few Jumbo Jibbles products I keep at home. It reminds me that I make wonderful things, and I can't please everyone.
I also know artists who make commissions, based on some things that a client wants. Art by commission seems so much harder. Perhaps if you are a representative painter, and you are making a person, it's easier to agree on what the end product should look like (the clients face, or butt, or whatever they want). But I have a friend Harumo Sato who does do some representational painting, but the universe/plane of existence is very different from a basic portrait, I am in awe that she can work from scratch with a non-artist and create something they like. It does take a lot of faith, I think.
So, if you are having something custom made by an artist, know that you are not entering a store, but someone's mind. And there's a LOT of options in there. Tread carefully.
*I am sure plumbers and all tradespeople will disagree, that their clients contain a lot of emotion. That's fair.