5a. Maybe you could talk about your commissioned work and your personal work? Do you work differently when doing one or the other?
I remember watching a video on Henry Moore and
one thing he said was that he never in his life took a commission. And I thought
wow, how could he do that and become this famous sculptor and have all these
huge monuments all over the world. Well he just worked a lot very small and
had his work in his studio and he developed a name for himself so people would
come to his studio and he'd say "pick one." And they'd choose a sculpture
that he had already come up with on his own and have him enlarge it which he
would happily todo and that was the closest to a commission that he would get.
I thought “How perfect!” Unfortunately, I've never been in the position
to work in that way because there are a lot of commissions to be had, but people
are very tight. Often, not always but often they have an exact idea of what
they want. A committee will get together and say, and this is one thing that
happened to me, they'll say: "Let's have a sculpture done of Dr. King.
We want a standing figure of Dr. King, life sized, standing figure." So
they put out a call to artists and the artists receive this concept within a
very narrow framework, a standing figure of Dr. King, realistic. Well you really
can't go very far with that. You know you're just stuck in that. So I tried
to come up with something that involved relief sculptures that were surrounding
the base you know I
took it as far afield from the standing figure as I could, although I did give them a standing figure too, and all they wanted was the figure. Well ultimately, this group of people didn't ever choose a sculpture. They had three finalists but they really didn't like any of our work. So all of us were like "Well OK, what can I say?" So that was an unfortunate experience. But I think for me it would have been far more unfortunate to have gotten that commission and had to work within those narrow frameworks. So I try to keep away from that sort of commission.