I was too swamped Friday to write in the Tips column, but Saturday will do just as well.ï¿½ The photo above is of my installation crew, after completing the huge Vernon Brejcha sculpture that I’ve blogged about a few times in the past week.ï¿½ Note their smiles.ï¿½ This is because I manage all my projects so that morale stays high.ï¿½ I consider that essential for any project toï¿½have the right vibe, which clients and casual viewers can sense, just as they can sense ineptitude.ï¿½ I also pay well, which I don’t doubt contributed to the smiles.ï¿½ I mean if I’m doing well, then everyone else does too.ï¿½ï¿½
This pieceï¿½was installed in the new lobby of a prestigious hospital.ï¿½ Yes,ï¿½it was aï¿½major project: 330 pieces of blown glass, overall sculpture weighing 2000 lbs., running for 90 linear feet.ï¿½ How did we land it, and the price we now command?ï¿½ By starting small years ago, as with all my sculpture projects, and all my sculptors.
In the beginning, we were forced to do commissions for a fraction of what we now charge, since in the early ’90s we weren’t yet established.ï¿½ Heck, we even lost money on a couple of the early gigs.ï¿½ Most artists do.ï¿½ But over time, I saw to it that the fees increased each year, until finally we were earning our due.ï¿½ It’s my job to ensure that the fees increase so we can all count on nest eggs, and help other people do the same.ï¿½ My clients never argue about this, because I always educate them on the process.
Did those early commissions automatically bring us the later commissions, and will the current ones automatically bring us more?ï¿½ No.ï¿½ The only thing that has continued to land us these commissions is our ceaseless marketing, public relations, and personal contact with clients.ï¿½ Nothing is automatic.ï¿½ It wasn’t for Monet; it isn’t for us.ï¿½ Nor will I ever make that assumption.ï¿½ Dangerous thing to do.
So if you want large commissions, you’ll likely have to start small, and cheap.ï¿½ If you manage to avoid doing this, please tell me how you pulled it off.