You’re the owner of a creative arts studio, so you know how unique your business really is. Offices are sometimes cold and hollow, they don’t have any personality. But an arts studio is full of imagination, artistic endeavor, mental anguish on a canvas and so much hard painstakingly detailed work on display. You get to see your employees create works of art every single day. Form a blank pile of clay, or a block of limestone, to a fantastic piece of living art that captivates concepts that we hold near and dear. But what if you’re given a contract by a client in which they clearly outline a length project? This could be something like creating a very tall statue that is handcrafted. It might be a giant mural that will take a long time to draw and paint by hand. It could be something like a photograph collage that will take a long time to piece together. The biggest issue here is keeping the quality of the art intact however long it takes to finish. You also want to give your employees enough room to fiddle around with it and get it just right.
The narrative road
Length art projects are truly a monumental mental challenge. You know just like everyone else in the industry, that art really is living. Art is created by living beings therefore in the process of it’s creation it may be subject to change. As a business owner you need to continually be in contact with your employees to see how the narrative road is doing. In other words, how have their ideas developed, have they changed anything and do their current ideas conflict with the overall end product the client has asked for? This requires you to not only have meetings with all your managers on a regular basis, but actually going down to the floor and speaking with the artists and designers that are working on the project.
Art isn’t just about creating whatever you want in the literal sense, because sometimes you are hampered by logistics, materials, engineering conundrums and conflicting design philosophies. For example, you may want to create a sculpture that is made from a soft stone but for the climate it will be situated in, the stone will become fragile. But, with softer stone you can do much more intricate sculpting and stonemasonry. Inevitably, the harder stone that is needed won’t be so easy to shape. Finite detail in some areas may have to be sacrificed for bluntness. These are the type of challenges your employees face all the time. In your weekly meetings, make sure you have time to discuss the narrative road for the lengthy project.
The space to build
Major projects cannot be completed in the normal art studio. They really do need their own space so completely focus and attention can be given to them. It’s not good to have several different smaller projects milling around the larger project that is going to be lengthy, expensive and for a wealthy or important client. But what kind of space would you need for such a project whereby you need to build something very large? A personalized metal structure is a perfect example of what you would need. Take a look at Safety Steel Structures that build such open and sheltered spaces. They specialize in commercial and industrial steel structures which will brave the elements and be modern enough inside to regulate temperatures and provide as much lighting as you would possibly need. Large metal structures are often used for studios as they provide plenty of air circulation to keep artwork fresh. Large artwork such as paintings don’t do very well in small stuffy rooms as the paint can become sweaty and begin to drip while the canvas soaks up the moisture in the air and begins to sag. In open spaces artwork will get the fresh air it needs but will be shielded from the sunlight which can fade pencil sketches and paintings.
A change in material
Perhaps more than any other, the art industry uses a lot of materials to create physical structures. A statue might use multiple metals, stones, woods and synthetic fibers when it’s completed. Modern day methods require newer materials also as 3D printers will require unique kinds of filament. However when a project is so lengthy and complex, you will run into the same problems other manufacturing businesses do. The material may not be strong enough, it may suddenly jump up in price, it may not look as good as you thought it would, etc. Hence why keeping an open channel of communication with your employees and your logistics companies is so critical to the overall quality of the project.
Changing their mind
It’s common for large projects to be put on hold then restarted, altered in size and quality and even cancelled altogether. This is because many times, the type of clients that contract large artistic projects will be entities like governments, private companies and wealthy clients. Governments may sanction the go-ahead of a project but either cancel it or put it on hold if there is a change of ruling party or perhaps a fiscal concern. If clients do change their mind however, you need to be compensated for the work you have done thus far. Even taking the time to do the research deserves some kind of monetary gain on your part.
Thus the terms and conditions have to be such that time itself is given value in a long project. Far too often art and design studios are taken advantage of by people who fail to realize how time-consuming the creation of art really is. So if clients do want to cancel or pause the project, remind them that it’s going to happen on their dollar.
Being commissioned a length art project is a studio’s dream. To be involved with something large and potentially culturally important is amazing. However, you need to have the space to do these projects, so a large steel structure dedicated to big tasks is incredibly helpful.
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