Art to Warner Brothers and Zach Snyder film, Watchmen

regier sphere.jpg

Sphere, Stainless Steel, Dave Regier


Hyperbolic Hexagon II, Bronze, Brent Collins

As some of you may have seen, the Star’s movie critic, Robert Butler, ran a Story Sunday on our arrangement with Warner Brothers and Veidt Productions.  This concerns the new Zach Snyder film, Watchmen.  Snyder was the director of 300, so this flick will probably be quite a roller coaster ride.

WB and Veidt are leasing sculpture by Arlie Regier, Dave Regier and Brent Collins for certain sets.  Will it lead to a show in LA for the artists?  I’d say probably so.  And man, these guys have sure earned it.

Sprint Center: Sumner Academy Kids



These are some of the high school artists, from Sumner Academy, to whom we’re going to teach the art of blowing glass.  With them is their teacher, Mary Sit.  The kids will also participate in the huge glass sculpture we’ll be installing at Sprint Center this week.

Sumner Academy is in Kansas City, KS.  Around here, this is often considered the poor stepsister of KC, MO–like Jersey is to Manhattan.  Are the kids there as talented as kids anywhere else?  You’d better believe it.  Are we going to prove that?  You’d better believe it.  Besides, look how excited they are, and we haven’t even started yet.

Friday Tips: Time for Time Off

Dear Friday Tipsters (unless you’re tipplers):

I’ve been writing this column, in addition to my books, scripts and magazine articles, for nearly two years.  I’ve enjoyed that, but am going to take a break.  Here’s why:

1)  Eight agents in LA have asked for my script about the Iraq War, and I want to polish it once more before sending off.

2)  I’m developing a concept for Cable TV, and need time to focus.

3)  I’m finishing a new work of nonfiction, and need time to focus.

4)  I’ve discovered a new brand of bourbon, and need time to focus.

5)  We’re leasing four large sculptures to Warner Brothers for a new Zach Snyder film, Watchmen.  Actually that requires little focus, I just thought I’d mention it.  The works are by Arlie Regier and Brent Collins.

6)  Next week I have to oversee the installation of a complex, 3000 lb hanging sculpture in blown glass, and will really need time to focus.  This will be at Sprint Center.  Photos will be posted on Leopold and the blog.

7)  I’m developing several large sculpture projects, and will need every ounce of concentration to ensure these launch well.

8)  Family.

These might not be very good reasons, but they’re the best I have.  However if it’s of interest, I’ll resume with Friday Tips on January 4.  So if you wish to remain a subscriber, you’ll find new and improved nonsense showing up at that time.  If not, that’s cool.  Either way, thanks for following me this far on the journey.  You’ve been great readers, as well as feedbackers, and I believe we’ve all learned from each other–one of the finest ways I know to learn.



Sprint Center: Site Inspection


Toured Sprint Center today to double-check details.  Will the lift really fit onto the freight elevator?  Will it reach the ceiling?  Where do we stow our equipment?  Are all the subs ready?  And who’s going to buy us lunch?

Once that was done, I came back to the gallery to sell a Chow.  A lot of people already showing up for Allan’s show, and it’s still a week away–a good sign.

My assistant sold a Copt after.  Man, I do love Fridays.

Sprint Center: Prepping Glass I


These are some of the 300 plates, each blown by hand, that we’ll be using for the hanging sculpture at Sprint Center.  Each of them is being coated with a thick, anti-shatter substance that will allow the pieces to stay intact even if breakage occurs.  This is a messy, odorous part of the process that my crew detests, but it’s necessary for purposes of safety.  Expensive too: the gunk costs $400 per Imperial Gallon.

This is just one of many steps we have to take before we can begin hanging glass.  We gladly take them all (except for the gunk).

Who commissioned the sculpture?  University of Kansas Hospital, of course.

Sprint Center: Install Preparations for Glass Sculpture


We’ve begun preparations for installing the 3000 lb glass sculpture at Sprint Center.  The glass was blown by Drew Hine, Jason Forck, and Tom Bloyd.  I’ll be overseeing the install, which starts next week.  But of course you have to do several dry runs before showtime.  We’re doing them now.

What’s this a photo of?  Well, a kind of mock-up.  How will it all look in the end?  Ah, too soon to say for that.  But stay posted: all will be revealed by 10/20.  We’ll also post updates on the Leopold Site now and then.

Trip to Picher

My dad grew up in Picher, OK, a rough mining town that figures into one of my novels, and that was one helluva tough place to try and survive in when it was booming.  I took two of my boys there recently, as we go each year, to climb the old tailing piles, wander through what’s left of the town, and sense the past. 


Similar to the shack my dad was raised in, always near the Chat Piles.


Atop one of the Piles, looking out on the ruined countryside.


How Picher looked in the 1920s.

The town’s water is poisoned with lead from the mines and piles, it’s one of the largest Superfund Sites in the country, and is slowly being abandoned.  The tragedy and courage of the place is an amazing story that I don’t have time to delve into today, but it always inspires me.  I’ll discuss in depth another time.


Two knaves atop one of the piles.

Friday Tips: Consigning Your Work / Gallery Percentages


Photo Courtesy Laughing Squid

Once you’re in a gallery, the consignment agreement should be a straightforward, no-nonsense aspect of the arrangement.  Normally it goes like this: 

The director agrees to take your work.  You consign perhaps six pieces to her.  You deliver the work, and she prints out and signs a consignment sheet for you.  My consignment sheets generally read as follows:

 To Whom it May Concern:
 This is to confirm that Donna Quackenbush, artist, has consigned to  Leopold Gallery the following oil paintings:

“Sur Le Pont,”  36 x 48,  $3000

“Ornamental Wind,”  36 x 44,  $2700

“Remain in Light,”  28 x 36,  $2300
“Petra,” 28 x 36, $2300

These paintings are consigned for a minimum of 12 weeks from the above date.  The paintings listed will be insured for their appraised worth against loss or damage for any reason whatever by Leopold Gallery during the period of exhibition.  Leopold Gallery will receive a commission of 50% of gross on any sales that are made during the period of consignment, or as a result of exposure that Donna Quackenbush received therefrom, or from any insurance claim.

Artist will be paid within 30 days of each sale, or any insurance claims.

With sufficiency acknowledged, I sign my name in good faith.
Paul Dorrell                                    Donna Quackenbush
Director                                         Artist


Note that the sheet lists the title, size and price of each work.  It also lists the commission charged, and the fact that insuring the pieces is my responsibility.  This should always be the gallery’s responsibility, even for fools who are so broke that they allow their insurance to lapse (as I did before the ’97 fire).

Regarding percentages, I charge varying commissions on works in varying media, as listed below.

Blown Glass…………………….40%
Steel Sculpture…………………40%
Ceramic Sculpture……………..40%
Bronze Sculpture………………33%

In most galleries, you’ll find it is standard to charge painters a 50% commission.  If the prices on the works are high enough, both you and the gallery will make a sufficient profit.  If your frames are inordinately expensive, perhaps the gallery will split the cost of these with you, but don’t count on it.  Galleries have enough overhead as it is; better to simply figure the cost of the frame into the price of the painting, and make your profit after.

Why do I charge only 40% for steel, glass and ceramic sculpture?  Because expenses for these artists are far greater than for painters; I feel it would be unfair to charge them the same commission.  Some galleries agree with this, most do not.  In fact most charge a straight 50% to all their artists, regardless of medium or studio expenses.  I wish I could do this, but in good conscience I cannot.   

My reasons for charging a 33% commission on bronzes are, again, based on the artist’s expenses, since expenses are extremely high for bronze sculptors, due to the cost of mold-making and casting.  I can’t ignore this condition, and so simply decided to work with it.  Therefore, the formula we employ in determining the retail price of a bronze is simply to multiply casting fees by three.  Thus if a bronze costs $1000 to cast, I sell it for $3000, plus $200 for the marble base, bringing the total to $3200.  After selling the piece I retain $1000, and the artist gets $2200, $1200 of which will go into casting and basing the next piece.

The percentages work differently with commissioned, one-of-a-kind pieces, which I will discuss in Chapter Seven of the book.  I can blog about that another time.  But for now, this discussion of the consignment process and commission percentages should, I hope, prove enlightening.

Kansas City Star: The Experience of Cancer


Beginning to Heal, Archival Print, Eric Dinyer 

We were fortunate enough to have Tim Engle at the Star write a Story on the Cancer Show today.  I already felt we would have strong attendance from the gallery’s promotions, and especially those of the University of Kansas Hospital, but now it seems assured.

Good.  Friday night, 10/5, I want to see legions of cancer patients, cancer survivors, and relatives of same.  Spreading awareness and hope are two of the goals.  Raising money for research is another.

Show for KU Med’s Cancer Center


Cancer Sucks, Silver Gelatin Print, Gloria Baker Feinstein


Faith, Oil on Canvas, Allan Chow

We’re hosting an opening this Friday for University of Kansas Hospital’s new Cancer Center.  The show’s title:  The Experience of Cancer.  Opening from 5:30 to 9:00.  Twelve artists have contributed works that reflect how cancer has touched their lives.  Cancer survivors and patients from throughout the city have been invited.  This includes kids.  Expect a good turnout, and hope to raise some significant funds for research. 

It will not be a depressing show; quite the opposite actually.  But it will without doubt be sobering.  I trust also informative.