How to choose an artist to commission a portrait from without being deceived

The artistic community is getting increasingly concerned about the presence of websites that sell digitally treated photos and try to make them pass for legitimate portraits by printing them on art paper or canvas.
The latest technological advances make our life and work much easier, but there are people who take advantage of them to carry out fraudulent practices. One of these practices consists in selling seemingly handmade portraits, which in reality are just the original photos which then are run through digital software. Despite being mere knockoffs, they are surprisingly believable. In order to do that, professional printers are used on artistic paper or a canvas and, in addition, can be processed manually to achieve an even more accurate appearance. For example, on top of the printed photo, either pencil strokes, or brushstrokes with paints or thick gels are applied in order to give it that characteristic oil relief.
There are imitations that can be seen with the naked eye, but there are some that are not so easy to differentiate even for a professional. I’d like to give you some clues to distinguish them:
The price: The price is suspiciously low compared to the average prices in the market. But this is not always the case, since I have seen that sometimes imitations of pencil portraits are offered at a price around a hundred euros, which is not cheap at all.
Time: They offer you a portrait with a very short elaboration time.
Technical paper formats such as A4, A3 … are used, which are more adaptable to the printers. The measurements of art papers and canvases are actually different.
On these websites the photographs of the artists themselves do not usually appear. Moreover, there are neither videos nor photos of the stages of the work process.
The most obvious sign there is is the presence of small and unnecessary but very precise details. A true artist does not make an exact copy of a photo, but interprets it in his own way, removing unnecessary details. These details, apart from the fact that they can harm the idea envisioned by the artist, assume additional hours or even days of extra work which do not favor the result. On the other hand, for a graphic designer the opposite happens: it costs them too much work to remove or modify the small details, so they usually appear the same as in the original photo.
If they give you the same budget for, for example, a portrait with only the face and for a portrait with a complex background, it may be a sign that technological means are being used to facilitate the task.
I hope this article is useful for the next time you want to order a portrait by the Internet..

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