London has a very strong network of artists and also attracts many artists from the UK and internationally who come to show and make work in the city.
It is important to think carefully about the kinds of artists you want to work with, their experience and approach. If you or your organisation has no previous experience of commissioning, it can be very daunting, and worth seeking out arts expertise such as consultants/curators to guide you. Looking at case studies, visiting contemporary art galleries and talking to your local authority arts officer can all help. Although there are a number of online databases of artists (see links), it is often difficult to judge the quality and appropriateness of the work from looking online.
Selecting artists can happen in a number of ways: direct invitation, competitive interview, invited competition and open competition. Often an art expert (consultant, curator or arts organisation) oversees this process and has the knowledge and visual arts background to identify artists. Using a steering group for a commission can bring in additional expertise to the process as well as a community viewpoint.