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  #1  
Old 04-05-2011, 01:15 PM
rika rika is offline
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About scale in sculpture

Well, I just saw this teddy bear, and my immediate reaction was "this doesn't work". But why not? Upon some reflection I realized it was the scale that didn't make it work for me. Had it been a tabletop piece, I would have liked it. It's playful with a little mysterious tension with teddy being stashed under the lamp, so the concept interests me. But the enormous size ruins it all for me:

http://www.artdaily.org/index.asp?in...&int_new=46276

This just came at a time when I was trying to decide on the "right" scale for my next series.

So how do sculptors decide on the ideal scale? What considerations have to be taken? Any help appreciated.
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  #2  
Old 04-05-2011, 03:33 PM
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Re: About scale in sculpture

Tune in honestly to your feelings and intentions and you'll receive the best reply.
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  #3  
Old 04-05-2011, 04:32 PM
rika rika is offline
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Re: About scale in sculpture

Joe, that's such a generic comment. I was hoping for a more in-depth answer regarding of what are the factors others consider...
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  #4  
Old 04-05-2011, 04:45 PM
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Re: About scale in sculpture

The "scale" question doesn't come up for me until I've actually completed the piece in clay. Since I can't draw, I have to work small in order to try out an idea. Armature has to be built and clay built up bit by bit. I may decide if I like the outcome to go ahead and cast the small piece (16" or so high).
Then if I think a larger size would suit the piece better, I have the smaller one to use as a guide and if I'm pointing it up myself, I can hopefully make changes in the larger version to get the feeling into it that I found in the smaller. Also since I'm doing editions of my bronzes, different sizes work for different prospective collectors. Most of my pieces wind up in the 30" high range (some larger) along with the smaller "original" size version.

Last edited by Mack : 04-05-2011 at 05:07 PM.
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  #5  
Old 04-05-2011, 05:27 PM
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Re: About scale in sculpture

My considerations are usually quite different. I do commissioned work, so I begin with scale. I have a given space to inhabit with whatever I decide to create. I have to determine what will be the best piece of art I can make to fill that space, along with a multitude of factors. In some cases, I will stand in the space and wait for an inspiration to occur regarding it. Or do so from photos. I have to consider how the work will be percieved from different viewing distances.

When I have worked on non-commissioned pieces, the scale has varied based on whether it is a study for something that may be larger, or what size is needed to achieve the level of detail that I want, or what is needed to make an impact from across a room, or what is a reasonable size for me to make a mold and a cast from. There has not been a generic scale that I always tend towards, it just depends on what I'm trying to communicate with the piece, or what is a comfortable size to work with so that my energy goes into creating art rather than wrestling with limitations of too small or too large.
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  #6  
Old 04-05-2011, 06:14 PM
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Re: About scale in sculpture

That teddy bear doesnt matter and isnt art because an artist didnt make it. This demonstrates a very important lesson about how big or small one's real art should be. Thats all.
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  #7  
Old 04-05-2011, 06:47 PM
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Re: About scale in sculpture

Quote:
Joe, that's such a generic comment. I was hoping for a more in-depth answer regarding of what are the factors others consider...
I thought it was as specific as possible...art wise. Its about only you and no one else. But if you're talking about sales, or practicality or popularity then you'd better listen to customers or galleries or critics or everyone or better yet take a poll. Then repeat that with every change in style and technique. Ultimately you should only do commissions so there will be no questions at all about parameters of personal expression .
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  #8  
Old 04-05-2011, 07:15 PM
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Re: About scale in sculpture

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Originally Posted by jOe~ View Post
Ultimately you should only do commissions so there will be no questions at all about parameters of personal expression .
Right, like the Sistine chapel had nothing to do with personal expression!
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  #9  
Old 04-05-2011, 07:17 PM
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Re: About scale in sculpture

Yes i usually start with scale too. I think you just have to, if you are making an object it is logical.

If i first choose what material i want to use today, then that material tells me what scale it will be, because of technical limitations of the material, cost of material, time available.

But i'm more likely to first start with a scale and then choose the material that suits making that object at that scale. And from what i can afford to spend on making it, i may decide that i need to change my scale.
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  #10  
Old 04-05-2011, 07:24 PM
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Re: About scale in sculpture

Joe:
"But if you're talking about sales, or practicality or popularity then you'd better listen to customers or galleries or critics or everyone or better yet take a poll".

I hadn't thought of the "poll" idea..thanks.
(and PS.. they're not "customers", they're "clients" or better: "collectors".) Jeez!

Last edited by Mack : 04-05-2011 at 09:31 PM.
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  #11  
Old 04-05-2011, 09:46 PM
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Re: About scale in sculpture

Hey Mack, give jOe a break. He doesn't know from commissions or sales...he just sculpts to entertain the local deer!
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  #12  
Old 04-05-2011, 10:56 PM
rika rika is offline
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Re: About scale in sculpture

Thanks Mack, Glenn, and Furby for describing your approach. Glenn, that's incredible that you are given the freedom to "fill that space". Wow!
In my opinion scale can become a deciding factor (in some cases) whether a piece succeeds or fails. I became aware of this the first time when I saw Mueck's "A Girl" which seemed more like a prop than art. The exhibit also displayed several scale models of the giant baby and those seemed a better size. There was also the old lady in bed which seemed perfect in scale. I came to the conclusion that scale is one important factor when it comes to establishing a rapport with the sculpture. It's hard to find intimacy in oversized work. I also find an undesirable "doll effect" with figurative work that is too small in scale. The viewer becames detached in both cases. (I know some of you don't consider the viewer at all, but that's another subject).
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  #13  
Old 04-05-2011, 11:25 PM
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Re: About scale in sculpture

Quote:
Hey Mack, give jOe a break. He doesn't know from commissions or sales...he just sculpts to entertain the local deer!
and moose, and for flocks of birds to decorate. Its all so eco-friendly.

Quote:
Yes i usually start with scale too. I think you just have to, if you are making an object it is logical.

If i first choose what material i want to use today, then that material tells me what scale it will be, because of technical limitations of the material, cost of material, time available.
To me scale is such a no brainer. It seems so basic.
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  #14  
Old 04-05-2011, 11:28 PM
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Re: About scale in sculpture

Regarding the "doll scale", take a look at the bronzes by Bessie Potter Vonoh, or Prince Troubetzkoy, or the animal sculptures of Bugatti . At that scale they lose nothing of their significant presence.
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  #15  
Old 04-06-2011, 06:33 AM
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Re: About scale in sculpture

Quote:
To me scale is such a no brainer. It seems so basic.
It is not the case that the same thing can be executed (as art) at any size one chooses. The idea will require that it gets made a CERTAIN size; and any OTHER size will not suit it. Some ideas are not meant to engage "intimacy". If you try to make that idea "intimate", because of internal bumblings over the outcome of your artifact - then you wont get to the art of it - you'll get the toy. And you might trace that failure back to a daunting that was experienced, a lack of confidence, not enough material, not the right tools, not enough work-space, not enough bodily capability or not enough time or not enough money. There are endless excuses for not making the piece the "right" size.

Same goes for making it too large. It doesnt add presence or significance to simply bust-out the calipers and the assistants and the tradesmen to simply blow-up something. Do you really want your sculpture to be a balloon?

Every idea is to be made the right size...so many things will tell you what size that is before you've picked up a tool. It requires the same sensibility to your creative process that you apply elsewhere in your creative throes.
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  #16  
Old 04-06-2011, 11:19 AM
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Re: About scale in sculpture

Quote:
Every idea is to be made the right size...so many things will tell you what size that is before you've picked up a tool. It requires the same sensibility to your creative process that you apply elsewhere in your creative throes.
That is what I wanted to say but was to lazy to squeeze it out...it seemed so basic.
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  #17  
Old 04-06-2011, 12:45 PM
rika rika is offline
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Re: About scale in sculpture

It seems to me Evald is not saying what you're saying, Joe. What I hear is that like just about everything in art, there's no easy answer or magic formula about the "ideal" scale; and that scale has to be considered carefully. Nothing ever is a no brainer to me when it comes to art or artmaking. It's a no brainer to make the right key for the right lock, or it won't open your door. That's basic.
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  #18  
Old 04-06-2011, 12:56 PM
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Re: About scale in sculpture

"no brainer" = thinking inside the box in one's own head.

I use the pompous "one's" to alleviate the accusatory perception of using the generic "your".

stricture is a part of life for many. to allow its presence to show in aesthetic execution is just as valid as any other choice. It becomes not an excuse, but an integral part of the package. Overcome things that don't aid your art, integrate things that can not yet be overcome.

The bear is just right, the point to me being the hugely scary, intimately hand-made contrast of it all. It's a huge indulgence that contrasts the replication of a humble object.
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Last edited by grommet : 04-06-2011 at 01:09 PM.
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  #19  
Old 04-06-2011, 02:17 PM
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Re: About scale in sculpture

Quote:
It seems to me Evald is not saying what you're saying, Joe.
For ME, the key line was:
Quote:
so many things will tell you what size that is before you've picked up a tool.
your mileage obviously varies .
Quote:
"no brainer" = thinking inside the box in one's own head. I use the pompous "one's" to alleviate the accusatory perception of using the generic "your".
My box was not intending "accusatory perception"s. Note too that the original quote was qualified :
Quote:
To me scale is such a no brainer
Message sent is not always message received. You win some, you lose some.
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  #20  
Old 04-06-2011, 02:23 PM
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Re: About scale in sculpture

folks who accuse pomposity may have an inferiority complex...same as those who accuse narcissism. It is, in fact, the way to constant and continuous betterment, to be as confident a "one" as possible.

I do agree with Joe that the size of a given idea to be executed quite presents itself once the decision to execute has been made. Now you can choose the size FIRST if you like, but then the idea (nature of its method and process) will change. See.


besides, no one ONLY has small ideas...or ONLY big ideas. We have all sizes of ideas. So our artifacts should be ALL kinds of sizes. No excuses.

Last edited by evaldart : 04-06-2011 at 03:00 PM.
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  #21  
Old 04-06-2011, 03:07 PM
grommet grommet is offline
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Re: About scale in sculpture

Joe, I thought I was being clear that I was speaking to the idea of a "no-brainer" perhaps being shortsighted, I was not addressing you at all. My apologies for the confusion.

What does it matter how many churns an *idea has to go through to achieve fruition????

*insert methodology here
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  #22  
Old 04-06-2011, 05:38 PM
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Re: About scale in sculpture

Quote:
I was not addressing you
I never took it that way. However, what followed I didn't follow. Message sent, message not processed. But I didn't try very hard either.
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  #23  
Old 04-06-2011, 08:07 PM
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Re: About scale in sculpture

Can you get fries and a cheese burger upon viewing?
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  #24  
Old 04-06-2011, 09:50 PM
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Re: About scale in sculpture

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Can you get fries and a cheese burger upon viewing?
What size fries and what size burger? The topic here is scale.
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  #25  
Old 04-07-2011, 09:56 AM
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Re: About scale in sculpture

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Originally Posted by jOe~ View Post
What size fries and what size burger? The topic here is scale.
That was my point, it looks like a 50s style drive up piece.
A poorly done eye grabber (scale) and no more.
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