Whether a table top sculpture or an architectural scale water feature, nothing is more gratifying for me than creating a unique work intended for a distinct space or environment. During a commission I develop a collaborative relationship with my client by encouraging their thoughts and input throughout all steps of the process. I often work in conjunction with the client’s architect, contractor, landscaper or designer in order to incorporate my work into a broader vision. Regardless of the size or scope of the project, I maintain a personal connection with the client, keeping them up to date on progress and always encouraging them to visit the studio during fabrication. From initial site meeting to final installation, I have found that open and clear communication between everyone involved is the most effective way to create a successful piece that is elegantly integrated with its surroundings. For most clients, as well as for myself, the process can be just as exciting and enjoyable as the completed piece itself.
Because everyone works in their own way, most commissions evolve into an individualized process based on the dynamic between artist and client. The following steps comprise my own template for the commission process and may vary depending on the nature of the project and the needs of the client.
Visiting the site and getting a sense of the space is an important first step in the commission process. At this meeting the client and I discuss general themes and directions, referencing my portfolio as well as the client’s aesthetic and stylistic tastes. I photograph the site and surrounding area to gain an understanding of the intended context for the work. If the client wants to move forward at the end of this meeting, a design fee is collected.
Within about a week I present the client with a choice of directions for the project (usually 2 - 5 concept sketches). The client and artist decide on one concept from which to develop a proposal. This can be done in person or by email and a subsequent phone conversation.
In approximately 2 weeks I develop a detailed proposal based on the chosen concept. In some cases communication with the client’s architect, contractor, or designer is appropriate at this stage. A final drawing of the piece in its environment and/or a physical maquette allows the client to clearly visualize the completed work. The proposal also includes a budget, timeline, and deposit amount or payment schedule.
Fabrication begins once the design is finalized, the proposal integrated into a contract, and the deposit or first payment collected. Throughout the process the client is kept up to date and asked to provide input and approval regarding any design updates and material or finish decisions. The client is always welcome to visit the studio during the fabrication process. Depending on my current schedule, the fabrication can range from 2 - 4 months from execution of contract and receipt of deposit.
Once fabrication is finished and the site prepared, installation is scheduled and completed in a manor appropriate to the demands of the project. In some cases this will be in conjunction with a contractor, landscaper, or professional installer.
Upon installation the client is given a care sheet and certificate of authenticity for the work of art. Water features in particular require some amount of ongoing care and/or maintenance. The client is encouraged to contact me with any questions or concerns after completion of the project. The most important thing to me is that the client is happy with the results and able to enjoy their piece for years to come.