When you're looking to commission an artist, what do you look for?
I would have to say from the point of view of someone getting, for instance, their beloved pet or portrait done, usually it's realism, attention to detail, and personality. Personally related commissions should usually stay away from being too 'stylistic' (I use this word a lot). Photo-realism is probably the best-seller of all personal-related commissions. Something that has nice, earthy tones and fits well above a couch in the living room will generate a lot more interest then something with lots of boldness, outside-of-the-box imagery, surrealism, fantasy, etc etc.
By the way, in saying 'personally-related commissions' I just mean Joe's dog or his son or whatever. It's different when you're doing a commission for someone who just enjoys your work and doesn't necissarily want anything specific. (Yes, once in a blue moon, that does happen!)
In addition, what do you look for in the artist(s) you would like to commission?
For one, age doesn't matter, many artists choose not to reveal their age etc which is perfecty alright. Samples are important, and also a professional standard. If you are an artist who has a nice website, business cards, and a few showings under your belt people will be more interested. Most importantly in any business related to the arts you have to start building a solid network (business cards, schooling, websites etc will help you with this) the people that get all this attention probably know how to make search engines favour their websites, and will promote themselves while their network does the same. It doesn't matter about skill if you've got friends high up, you can just 'make it'. For the ''little people' like us it takes a lot more hard work, but it CAN happen!
I was told by an artist I commissioned that she "wouldn't draw humans" after I asked her to make a cartoon-style sticker of my son. She would only draw wolves. Had she not been hurting for money I would have taken my business elsewhere. (Oh, lo, the soft-of-heart lament.)
That was very kind of you. I don't think I'd be that nice... hahaha...