This week we talk to Paul Vanstone about the process of preparing for, planning and commission outdoor art. As a veteran marble sculptor who sells and installs his pieces globally – Paul has lots of advice to dispense.
We recorded this podcast at his atelier so thanks for understanding about some of the background noise.
Paul gives us great advice about the confidence and trust in the artist to commission a piece. He gives us examples of the process he goes through with clients and encourages the listeners to be involved in the process.
The three top tips for putting a sculpture outdoors are:
1) Selection of the space / Location – he uses different size cardboard cut outs (which he calls his Monty Python process) to try the pieces in different locations. the different size pieces help to get the scale correct.
2) Ground work / base preparation – make the supportive ground structure bigger than the base of the piece. When it finally comes in you might find it looks better a couple of feet to the left. The additional footings are minimal in cost to give you that ability to adjust.
3) Plan the sculpture in conjunction with your gardener / landscape architect so the two work together -the sculpture should be put in when the garden is ready, which might be well before the plants go in, or at the point of landscaping because this is the best access moment.
Paul talks about how to commission something new – if the exact piece you want isn’t available or you want something bespoke, the timescales for doing this and the communication during this process.
And finally we talk about budget – how you think about and talk about the cost of art. This isn’t a comfortable conversation for everyone, but Paul is very honest about how and when you have those conversations and how the artist might be able to help you tweak the piece, it’s size or base material, to help bring the sculpture into your budget.
At this time of year Paul would normally be at the Royal Horticulture Society’s annual Chelsea Flower Show – which has been cancelled due to Covid, but as his atelier is outdoors, he is still able to work and is open to customers.
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