Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Is Self-promotion Wrong? --- or --- I'm Fishing for Commissions.

Here's a short "promotional" video I put together recently. It includes images from a lot of my pieces all together. It's nice to see so many of my pieces, especially my heads, one after another. It really give one an idea of my style - and it's eye-opening for me to see them this way too.

You'll want to watch this full screen. It's also posted on my YouTube Channel - here.

At the end of the video, I point out that I do commissions. Over the past 10 or so years, approximately 60% of my time has been devoted to creating commissioned work. I still, and always will, make pieces for "me", that I'll put up for sale on my site, but going forward, most of my time will be spent making that special piece for someone else. I'm fortunate to have several regular customers that request pieces once a year, or maybe every couple of years. I'm thankful to them for keeping me afloat. So as an independent artist, (see my last paragraph below), I'm really making the effort to get the word out that I graciously accept commissions of many kinds - personal, corporate, even of the interior design type.

In case this gets you thinking....... even if you're not exactly sure what you might want, please feel free to reach out to me. It's always nice to get the conversation started early, even if you're not ready to "pull the trigger". And sometime my schedule gets backed up - so again, early is better.

Also, I recently added a Commission Page to my website. It basically spells out - step by step - what to expect when one commissions me to make a piece of artwork. The process is really quite easy and straightforward, but when I wrote it out, it seemed extensive.

I've copied and pasted it here.........
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The Commission Process

Recently, someone mentioned to me that they were intimidated with the commission process of artists. I thought, “Surely, I’m not intimidating”. To alleviate any apprehension you might have about commissioning me to make that special piece for you, I’ve outlined my Commission Process here…..

First, if you’re unsure about what you want me to create - we can both think about it, and then toss some ideas around. This can be a fun activity, for both of us. I’m always up for a challenge, and love to try things I haven’t done before. By the way, some people know what they want – and some don’t. Some people want a portrait of themselves, or a loved one; and some want a piece similar to one that’s been sold. Over the years I’ve enjoyed making all the above.

1. Once we have an idea, we can get started. You’ll let me know the basic idea of the piece - and if you have a price range in mind, you’ll let me know that too. We can discuss all the details about your piece – size, movement, features, and any personal details. Usually this discussion happens via email, where the details are “recorded”, but we can also chat over the phone if you’d like. A quick phone conversation can sometimes be worth 10 emails back and forth – and can clear up a lot of things promptly.

2. Next, I will do a quick sketch, and a bit of figuring, to arrive at a price. (I sometimes send my client a copy of the sketch, but not always – it’s up to you.) Once we agree on a price…..

3. I will then email you my super-simple Commission Form. It just the basics – what I’m creating for you, when it’s expected to be delivered, the price, your information, my information, and a place for each of us to sign. It states that a 50% Deposit is required in order for me to start - and the balance, plus shipping, is due when your piece is completed.

4. You will then send me a check, along with the signed Commission Form. I can sign it and send you a copy, if you’d like.

5. I will make your piece as we have discussed. At some point, I may ask your opinion about color scheme, or any other details. Specifically, eye color has to be known if I’m doing a portrait of you or a loved one.

6. Once your piece is ready to be shipped to you, I’ll let you know, and you’ll send me the final check. Once I receive the check, I will carefully and professionally pack your piece. When I say professionally, I mean I will personally pack your piece to the best of my abilities. I’ve gotten pretty good at packing my pieces – and who better than me to do it, as I know all the vulnerabilities of my pieces. I usually ship FedEx, and have had excellent success using their services.

7. When your piece arrives, you will find Unpacking Instructions inside, as well as any Notes as to how your piece operates.
By the way, after the piece arrives, I’m always around to answer questions, or hear any concerns you might have.

I appreciate the opportunity to create a special piece for you – a piece that is sure to become a family heirloom. I make every effort to keep my clients happy, and usually go above and beyond expectations when it comes to my commissions.

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I hope this gives you a better idea of what to expect when you come to me with that thought about getting a special piece for you or someone you love. 

Lastly, I case you didn't know, (and I haven't really talked about it), as of July 2017, I am no longer affiliated with any gallery - and I pulled my work out of the New Orleans gallery I was in. They've changed their focus, and my pieces didn't really fit in with their new concept. So I've become a fully independent artist again. When I started off as a full-time artist in 2000, I was 100% independent. I did art fairs for 7 years, and purposely did not show in galleries until 2008. From then until the Summer of '17, I've pretty much only been in one gallery at a time - except for maybe the occasional group show. I like being independent again - it suits me.

So is it wrong to promote one's self? Not in my case - someone's got to do it!!!

Thanks for looking!

tom

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

"The Sea Monster" - 2016 - Final Images and the "Making of"......

This is going to be a really big post, so get ready.......

"The Sea Monster" was commissioned by a man in New England who has a fondness for sea creatures. I've never done a piece quite like this before, but I really enjoyed the challenge, and I think it came out pretty great. It measures 24" x 16" x 8", hangs on the wall, and is operated by turning the crank.
I posted 2 videos at the bottom of this post....

The final shots of the piece. 










The build.

I started here - with the "case" that will hold everything. 

Next, I added a crank, and geared it down so that no one can overcrank it. If I didn't do this, and someone turned the crank too fast, it might damage the mechanisms - or at least, something would get hung up somewhere. I never want to take that chance, so I always gear down any hand-cranked piece.

Next, I started with the waves, and the mechanisms to move them. Of course, I had to draw the whole thing out first, and figure out where the waves needed to be. They are of various lengths, and the pivots points were staggered in relation to each other.

There are 3 axles that hold the small cams, which lift the waves. The axles have 2 precision bearings, mounted in blocks at each end, front and back. Here you can see the axels in progress. There are also 3 clear Polycord belts that connect the rods and the crank together - and makes everything move.

These are some of the end pieces. You can see here that I had to add some lead weight to get them to act the way I wanted them to. The small wooden rods help the waves stay in place. The rods go into grooves cut into wooden blocks.

These are all of the waves, before I carved the final details into them. Since the sea monster is sitting in the scene, the waves have to "surround" him - so some of them are full length, and some are very short. Each wave it unique, and I had to number them to keep them straight. Two rods, one on each end, hold the waves in place.

Testing the position and the movement of the waves. The first wave had to be spring assisted on this one side. I straddles the big gear, and had to prevent it from touching the gear. 


Starting to build the sea monster. 

The first cuts were done on a bandsaw.

I was anxious to see him in amongst the waves.

Beginning to hollow out the mouth.

Since the head was mostly hollow,  it was made up from 3 pieces of basswood - you can see 2 pieces here.

I carved the insides and cut out the eye before I glued the 3 pieces together. The eye is weighted so it moves as the head tilts back and forth, and first I had to figure out how that was going to work.

Starting the carving of the head - so much fun.

The head is pretty much finished here. I still have to add his crest.


Here I'm making room in the back for the mechanism that will move the fin. 


The hole for the fin mechanism is done. The part that fits in here is removable. It's easier to work on that way.

I carved out even more of the back to make room for the other mechanisms. There are 2 cams and two levers here. One moves the head, (which is spring assisted), and the other one moves the tail and fin. 

The two levers, with precision bearings on the cam followers.

The final look of the sea monster - before painting.

The teeth. I painted them before I glued them in.

All the pieces of the sea monster - just before painting.

After painting, but before aging.

After aging.

Painting the base - especially the area under the waves.


All the parts - painted, aged, waxed, and ready to be put together. Wow.

Almost all together.


Final assembly. All of the mechanical parts were figured out, and fabricated, before painting. This is just putting it all together, and checking to make sure it's working flawlessly. 


This shows one of the cams, one of the blocks that holds the bearings, and one of the rods that hold the end pieces in place.



The background painting in progress.......

......and after aging. It gets screwed to the back of the case.

This shows the eye, and how it's weighted. The two small brass rods limit it's movement.

The pine frame in progress.


This valance will hide the front of the waves, and it'll be painted the same color as the waves.

The final color of the frame. Four screws will hold it in place.

Test fit, (without the valance).


I hope you liked following along.
BTW I'm always accepting commissions. If you have an idea for a special piece, contact me - I'm sure we can come up with something really cool.


Here is the movie for "The Sea Monster".... You'll want to watch it full screen.

And here is the "making of" video......


Thanks for looking!

tom

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Upcoming Show in Los Angeles - Mercado Los Olvidados - Sept. 22nd - 24th

I'm so excited to announce that I will be a part of this amazing line-up of talented artists, showing our works for one weekend only in Downtown LA. To be able to show my work alongside of some of the heavy hitters in the Lowbrow Pop art scene, has me beyond thrilled. 
FYI - I'm going to have a wide variety of artwork - with many pieces that I've created exclusively for this show. 

All the important information is here

So if you happen to live in the Los Angeles area, or if you'll be in LA that weekend, it's something you're going to want to check out. Please come by and introduce yourself, I'd love to meet you!





 Thanks for looking!

tom