You decided you want to have a mosaic made, let’s say to embellish the fireplace in your living room. You already have an idea of what you want, and in particular of what you do NOT want. It shall be abstract art; no landscape, hunt scene or the like. You want delicate colours, to go with the furniture, which is in light-tinted wood and pastel fabric. Therefore, you expect the artist to advise you on what is best.
This means you need to choose the person carefully.
From our vantage point – we are the number one Swiss atelier of architectural mosaic – we gathered a good insight into what our clients expect from an artist, to whom they plan to entrust the making of an artwork like the one mentioned above.
Many believe an artist must be extravagant, a Bohemian, leading a wild irregular life, with a bad temper and therefore unreliable. Someone with whom you cannot expect to have a good relationship.
Reality is very different indeed. Art requires talent and technique, but most of all discipline. Let’s see what our customers expect from us, when they choose us as their partner/provider.
This is the first point, and the most important. If others have already trusted this artist to the point, they commissioned an artwork from him, and they were so happy with the result that they chose to say so in public, chances are higher that you too will be satisfied, when the fire in your fireplace will be burning and you will be sitting on your sofa, enjoying the warmth – and the piece of art that decorates the wall above.
Watch the artist’s Web site (everyone has one nowadays), see if there is a section with testimonials, with names and pictures of happy customers, get in touch with a few of them and ask them.
You also want to look at social sites, where you will find useful information: Facebook first, but don’t forget Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, Reddit, Myspace, LinkedIn. There are plenty of places where you can go to find information on the person you are about to choose as partner in this small adventure of creating a piece of art of your own.
So: enquire about the person, take some time to try to understand what kind of person he is, how he works, what his customers think of him. What do they say of him? Is he a newspaper-and-television celebrity, all mouth and trousers? Is he a “social network lion”? Or is he rather an honest, capable professional, with good talent and appropriate hand skills?
This is the first and most important thing.
Before you commission a work of art, you will have several questions and you want the answers. Is the artist available to listen, and clear up all your doubts? Does he explain what you need to understand about his working methods, does he help you choose what you really want to achieve? Or does he rather impose his views and style on you?
Of course, each artist has his own style. You may have already seen his galleries and portfolios; in fact, you may have already made a shortlist, choosing those artists whose styles you feel nearer to what you wish.
Now is the time for personal contact. Does the chosen artist receive you in his workshop? Does he explain his methods? If you want a mosaic made, you want an artwork that lasts a long time, to be with you each time you spend your time in the room where you placed it.
Ask the artist all the questions you feel, so that you may understand if he, in turn, will understand what you want to achieve. You will also perceive the latitude of his experience, his knowledge of different styles and methods.
3- Guarantee and documents of materials
A mosaic is made to last. It becomes part of the place where it is installed. You want to know how it is made, if the appropriate materials were chosen, especially in Switzerland, where laws are strict on security and environmental impact.
It has been reported that works of art for architecture, signed by well-known artists, did not last, and after a few years they were damaged irremediably, or even collapsed completely (we shall discuss stories in a future post).
Needless to say, you do not want anything close to that to happen to you. Check the materials the artist will employ in your project; if you do not feel safe, ask an engineer or architect to check with you. Do not risk a nasty surprise.
Guarantee is a further important issue. We offer a lifelong guarantee on our artworks: ask the artist of your choice what he does in this respect. Switzerland has precise regulations (SIA 118): is the artist aware? Does he comply?
We mentioned above, that the artist should receive you in his workshop; you will have the opportunity of watching his ways, his tools, how he is organised.
On one side there is a trend – especially here in Switzerland… – of keeping everything always in order and spotless clean. Of course this is good, but where there’s work, and in particular creative work, you shouldn’t always expect to find as clean as an operating room.
Materials, tools, waste scattered here and there, testify the artist’s creative work.
On the other hand, you will obviously distrust someone who lives in total chaos. Will he be capable of working as you expect, of keeping deadlines?
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