I do love it when someone enjoys my work enough to want to invest in it at a gallery or exhibition – it gives you a kind of affirmation I guess; but for me there is no greater joy than being commissioned to undertake a bespoke sculpture. The client will have seen my work and feel inspired enough to want to have one of my sculptures made specifically for them and usually situated in a particular place.
Commissioning leads to a special relationship which I not only enjoy but influences me and takes my work in unanticipated directions – after all no two briefs are ever the same and of course the locations differ enormously.
I always go into a new commission with an open mind and look to respond to the site specifically and also to draw upon the tastes and aspirations of my client – what style is their home, what artists do they admire and what do they have on their walls…
Generally I make about 6 or 8 sketch maquettes for a commission – simple little forms in basic media with a view to exploring my ideas and giving the client something to visualise. These themselves are distilled from lots of sketching and playing with materials, trying to find a ‘way in’… It’s always interesting to see which forms resonate most with the client and surprising how often we are on the same wavelength.
With this feedback I am able to develop the maquettes to the next level, usually at a larger scale and things start to clarify. It really is quite an organic process, I never know where it is going to lead, and takes on a momentum all of its own. Generally it takes several months with numerous client meetings along the way, to arrive at a final form – depending on the chosen scale this is either moulded and cast directly or scaled up and then moulded and cast.
Left and right are my two latest commissions – shown in plaster and currently at the foundry being cast into bronze for installation before Christmas!