Friday, November 16, 2012

wherein I'm reminded how much work it is to have work

first mountain wall panel, with black cloth behind and stencil still covering the clear portion, uncertain over whether or not it's finished

Three days in the shop is about all we can take. This week was not as productive as we have been. It was cold for one thing and I don't work well when I'm cold. Then we realized we had left the stencil material for the last panel at the other shop so there was a delay while we went back and got that. Then we dithered for most of the day over whether or not the first panel was finished. We touched it up about four times (it has to be incremental because there is no erasing, if a tone gets too dense, it stays that way). Finally we just took it out and removed the dusty protective film on the back and still dithered about it so I barely got started on the last stencil. That was day 1.

Day 2 in the shop, getting adjusted to the cold, we draped black velvet behind the first panel and could see very clearly then, finally, that it still needed some touching up but the next panel was already in the sandblast booth so we recovered the clear side with the protective plastic film and Marc got started on the carving for panel 2 while I worked on the stencil for panel 4. Ah, but then another delay. The regulator on the sandblaster, which hadn't been working well from the get go finally just quit altogether and had to be replaced.

Day 3 wasn't much better. The people from Invesco are very excited about this project and decided that they wanted to document its making so at times a guy comes out to the shop and takes pictures and short stretches of video while we work. That's kind of fun and we will have a great promotional tool at the end, but it does slow things down while he is there. And then I had to leave to go pick up our cast stuff that was left at our home town gallery as they are retiring at the end of the year so by the time I got back, I didn't have enough time to finish the last stencil. We wanted to get all the carving done on the second panel this week, but didn't accomplish that either.

We're trying to get done by the middle of December. It seemed doable last week. Now, Thanksgiving is next week and we will only work for two days in the shop but we should be able to get caught up and finish the first two panels. That will give us 3 weeks to do the sandblasting on the last two panels. Still seems doable.


Making a living as an artist is hard work. Not just the brain part where you are thinking of what to do and how to do it or the promo part where you are calling people and making presentations to get work but the actual physical part of fabricating the project. I'm always amazed at how many people don't actually comprehend that.

I have a proposal out and it has been accepted though no money has changed hands so far. This is for a project that is for 4 panels 30” x 40” with very specific imagery, photographs of people that they didn't send until the end of October, that to tell the truth I'm not really sure how I'm going to manipulate the images in a way that I can actually do the work, and the client is moving into the space mid-December. I explained to them that we were quite busy on another project and we would not be able to start until after the first of the year at the earliest.

Yesterday I got an email asking me if I thought I could have them installed by the end of the second week of January. Seriously? They think I can manipulate the images, do the full size art work, get the materials, do the fabrication, and have them installed in two weeks? It'll take me longer than that just to get the art work ready.

This is the part of having work and being busy that I don't like. Unreal expectations on the part of the clients. Parties scheduled before the work is commissioned. Attitudes that art is not really work and we ought to be able to just knock this stuff out. I try to give them the benefit of the doubt, that they truly don't know what's involved in producing a one of a kind piece of art.

But two weeks? Really?


  1. oh, good lord! may you have patience for clients who do not!

  2. Maybe in future you can send the promo to clients so they can see the actual physical part of the work...

  3. I love the mountain; it is extremely beautiful. People! This takes thought, and hours and hours of work! It's not laser-etched in a photo booth over night! If you love it you must be willing to pay for it and wait for it to be done right.

    People think art comes easy, that it's like some magic capacity that certain people are born with, that an artist can just snap a finger and it's there.

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  5. I have a feeling people have no idea how much time and work actually go into an artist's work. This seems to be the case with so many people who work in areas that require talent and work combined.

  6. Right now I could use some unreal expectations from clients. No jobs since June!!!!
    Love your panel.

  7. This panel has really taken shape and it looks great Ellen!

    The people will wait. They're just wanting what they want now, like little kids.

  8. Well, exactly -- you said it in that last paragraph. These people just have NO IDEA what's involved in the work. They probably think you just fit a sheet of glass into a machine and presto!

    They should be relieved that you're taking the time to do it right!

  9. Lovely image. My form is writing and performing. Luckily I only have my own deadllines to meet. Dealing with clients who aren't invested or involved in the work must be infuriating at times.

  10. Agree with Reya! You are indeed! I would love to tap some of your energy!People who really do not do any sort of art have no clue! Two weeks, HA! Two decades I would say to them- plan ahead!!! Even a physician will not have appointment for you in two weeks! I would not like doing art for those who have no idea! Tell them to order cheap shite on the interwebs...


I opened my big mouth, now it's your turn.