The Royal British Society of Sculptors – ‘Sculpting A Living’

I recently attended this professional development seminar at the RBS in South Kensington.  I had been looking out for it as I missed last year’s day, but it was worth the wait.  

It was more than just useful – it was truly inspirational.  I’d go so far as to say that this day is essential for any up and coming sculptor and would probably be beneficial even for more established ones too.

The day was divided into three broad sections:-

Artists Without Galleries

In this session Nick Kaplony of Artquest and Briony Marshall ARBS (yes Briony from the Art Academy) covered a lot of topics – from exhibiting / being seen / digital marketing through to artists’ contracts and public liability insurance.

There were loads of great tips and artists please note – by signing up to a-n Magazine, The Artist Information Company, you can get membership of AIR (Artists Interaction & Representation scheme) – including Public and Products Liability cover with an Indemnity Limit of £5m. 

Trade Off

This session was steered by Charles Hadcock FRBS and Sarah Thelwall, financial management advisor to the creative industries. 

Loads of areas were covered but essentially they focussed on how to avoid the poverty trap.  We talked about a range of things including artists’ personal statements, networking and making money by having drawings and maquettes available as well as editions.

I really admired Charles’ frank and honest presentation – in particular his ‘two portfolio’ system resonated with me.  Essentially to survive as a sculptor it is necessary to take any commission that comes our way – this enables us to indulge our own artistic practice.

Another thing that came up was the importance for any aspirational sculptor to register with DACS (Design and Artists Copyright Society) – they essentially look after the artist’s right to receive royalties on future sales of their work.

His work is pretty inspirational too – the sculpture above right is at Canary Wharf and he’s recently had a major work on show at Chatsworth.

Winning Opportunities

This section was driven by art consultant Lucy Tyler of Futurecity and Sean Henry FRBS  – they sought to provide us with a winning formula to make successful applications for awards, residencies, exhibitions and commissions.

Again much was covered within this area and I found it particularly inspiring.  Lucy has a great breadth of experience in major art commissioning and Sean is an incredible sculptor.  

Sean shared the details and stories behind his monumental ‘Couple’ sculpture on the Northumberland coast and his huge commission from UBS Bank.  ‘Couple’  is shown above and right is another of Sean’s works at Canary Wharf.  

The truth is that the day covered so much, I can’t possibly begin to do it justice here – just don’t miss next years…..


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