The Process

Consultation

There are really two paths to acquiring a piece of sculpture. You can purchase and existing work and have it shipped to the site in relatively short order. You can also commission a work and it takes just a bit longer. In either case you need to take into account the site and a good art dealer or our studio can help you out with that.

The process really starts with listening to the goals of the client. There may be parameters of space, budget and color that are most important in the beginning.

There is first and foremost the scale of the work relative to the space that it inhabits. Bigger is not necessarily better. A good scale is often a gut feeling that is derived from how you intend to see the work from different vantage points. It is also about how the space is to be used and its intrinsic environmental conditions.

Material becomes important to pragmatic concerns as much as visual. For spaces that need the ultimate in low maintenance, stainless steel is pretty hard to beat. However sometimes color is a necessity and the use of an industrial marine urethane is the best solution.

client space

Photo of the client’s space
for the sculpture

Design

Design takes place with all the notes, photographs, measurements that are garnered though the consultation. I use a three-dimensional computer aided design software to draw the sculpture in three-dimensional space. In this process I also take into account shipping, installation and the construction methodology that will go into making the sculpture if we hit on a viable solution. I have to provide my clients with buildable objects, or we have wasted a lot of valuable time and energy.

This exercise will give me what is needed to create renderings and even animations that relate the sculpture in scape to the space and give the client the best representation of my vison for the piece before we commit anything to metal.

sculpture-drawing
sculpture-drawing
sculpture-drawing

First two images (above) are CAD files,  and the last is a composite image rendered from the CAD designed object in an existing photograph provided by the client to show the sculpture ‘virtually’ in the client’s space.

Refinement

The next step is to share the renderings or animations with the client and get feedback. Sometimes it comes down to a new idea completely. Working with scale, color and shape, a suitable design in found.

sculpture-drawing

On this project, the client changed their mind on the color but we were able to work though several ideas quickly, using this color as the final choice.

Construction

Cutting instructions are sent digitally to the CNC Plasma table where a super hot jet of plasma is used to vaporize metal in a controlled manner to cut the shapes. For painted works, 5052 Marine Aluminum is used. This gives the works corrosion resistance and toughness, while making them a lighter for handling. Stainless steel works are made from either 304l or 316l depending on location and environmental conditions.

sculpture-drawing

The surfaces are rolled and shaped to become the parts of each section. The sections are welded together with a. continuous bead. Some large sculptures have as much as a mile of welding.

sculpture-drawing

The surfaces are rolled and shaped to become the parts of each section. The sections are welded together with a. continuous bead. Some large sculptures have as much as a mile of welding.

Making-Progress
Rough-Ground-edge

Each weld gets ground and sanded. Where there are voids or low spots additional weld is deposited to make each edge as tough and strong aspossible.

Sub-Assembly-Split-Ring

Once the sub units are welded and sanded, they can start to be assembled. Sometimes these parts are quite heavy, requiring the use of a crane or forklift to handle them.

Sub-Assembly-Split-Ring

For painted pieces the last step is to apply the finish. The process is reliant on autobody technology. I use the same primers to build the surface up and sand it to perfection to get the smooth perfect finishes I strive for in my work. I learned a lot of this while restoring and creating custom cars as a kid. I still love going to car shows and looking at the paint and body work. The two disciplines are intertwined in my mind.

Installation

I have done installations as far south as the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico and as far north as the US side of the Canadian Border. Where there is a will and road, there is a way! I see my practice as full spectrum, installation is no less important than the design or construction of your sculpture. In some circumstances it make more sense to have a local contractor or landscaper do the installation of your sculpture. I can work with you to find the most suitable method that works for your needs and budget.

Sub-Assembly-Split-Ring
Sub-Assembly-Split-Ring

Some sculptures require a lot of logistical support to have shipping, equipment and foundations all come together at the desired moment. Other times it is just carrying out a work from the truck and setting anchors in a piece of stone. Either way I have the capabilities and the experience to make a successful installation happen where ever you are.

red-metal-sculpture
red-metal-sculpture

The Installation is really the final step in the art making process. In the case of this sculpture, the piece really looked and fit the space better turned 180 degrees. All the technology in the world cannot fully tell the story of how a work will look in place. It is important to choose methods that will allow some flexibility in positioning so that the final installation is a hit.

Examples of 3-Dimensional Design Concepts

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