Mediums to Move You: lessons on the art of making art

Through these various mediums I express my art. All contain their own challenges and results, making a diverse variety in price and visually sensual results, for myself and for my clients.

Bronze:

Venus bronze 20 x 20 x 8 cm

From wax (or clay) I make a sculpture. One of the main differences between clay and wax is that wax holds very fine details and stays workable for a long time without drying out.

From the sculpture a mold is made, either by the artist or at a bronze foundry, by a technician who is highly specialized in the complex processes of mold making and bronze pouring. To begin,the bronze technician will make from the artist’s original wax sculpture, a mold of rubber encased  by plaster. This is the master mold.

If many  sculptures are wanted, as in the case of a limited edition, many wax replicas are made from this master mould.  It is done in this way:

Wax is poured into the master mold. The mold is opened, and a  wax replica is revealed. Plaster is then applied over this replica to  form a kind of shell.  The more bronzes that are needed, the more shells/wax replicas are made. For example, if an edition of 25 bronzes are needed, then 25 shells are made. Now for the exciting part: the pouring of the bronze. Bronze is melted and poured (at what feels to be a million degrees) into each plaster shell. Hot bronze poured in, wax is melted out (thus destroying the wax replica), leaving in its place a bronze sculpture. When  all the bronze sculptures are poured and sufficiently cooled, the plaster shell is then broken off  and      a bronze is born. Upon completion of each bronze, they must be cleaned of any fine metal imperfections. A patina is then applied – basically powdered colored pigment that is brushed on very quickly to the bronze sculpture while heat is concurrently applied. Lastly, a wax is applied and the sculpture is buffed to perfection.  When the edition is finished, , the master mould is broken, literally, hence the phrase, “Broke the mold”

How many bronzes poured depends upon how many the artist wants for the edition.  A limited edition of 25 or so is standard, depending on size. Each finished bronze will be numbered (such as: 1/25) and signed or initialed by the artist. Because of this limited edition, the value increases – there are fewer of them cast. And because they are bronze, with all specialized and labour intensive work involved, the retail price can be more than with other mediums.

Cement:

Henna Woman cement garden sculpture 40 x 18 x 12 cm, inclusive base it stands at 120 cm

For this medium, I sculpt an image from plaster. This plaster can be worked with while wet and  sanded or chipped after it is dry. I make from this a rubber mold that is surrounded by plaster, (much in the same way as the for the bronze).  From this, many cement sculptures can be poured. The cement  is a highly refined variety that looks very much  like marble.  Cement poured in, the mold is opened, and a new cement torso is born. This cement was designed and tested to withstand the outdoors,  from freezing rain to harsh sun. Because the labor for this is done by the artist and cement less costly than bronze, the retail price is less than other mediums. These sculptures could be considered a mass-produced product, since they are not a numbered nor signed. Yet to make them unique, I have kept each design to a series of 100. As well, each one has a unique tattoo design which was, in most cases, hand painted by the artist. This creates   a one of a kind sculpture in design concept and execution. The paint used for the design withstands fading sun and harsh winter freezing.

Stone:

Arizona alabaster                  Arizona alabaster               20 x 10 x 7 cm
Orange torso #19 Arizona alabaster 20 x 10 x 6 cm

During this whole process, there are two things that make carving stone, for me, very different from that of any of the above mediums. One is that you must  take away– not build up -the sculpture. This takes a lot of thinking in reverse. The other thing is that the stone appears grayish throughout, until the last polish is applied. The  color stays a secret even to me! Many times I am happily surprised to see a color of red on a nipple, or light patch on the belly. This can only be planned for to a certain degree.

I close with this statement:  I feel that art is food for the soul, honestly believing that a work of art doesn’t live unless it is seen; out in the world being viewed and enjoyed. Acknowledgement of my craft in the world and the that my sculptures bring pleasure and enrichment into the lives of people on  various levels, means a lot to me.

That said,  these mediums are labor and cost intensive, as illustrated above. Times are tough and basically if I, as an artist, wish to make a living from my work, I must also be aware of and bend to the market, what the market will bear,  so to speak. I would rather sell  even in difficult times, than not to sell. Because of this, the prices in this show priced to sell.  There is no better time to buy than now.

If you have any further questions about the art processes stated here or would like to see the sculptures for your self, do feel free to make contact with me by either popping in at the ABC Treehouse gallery in Amsterdam,  or through my website, http://www.chantzperkins.com or via this blog. All the best, Chantz



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