Laura Bender of Site Painters recently completed this motion-filled work on commission for a client of Pero Design. We spoke to Laura about her process and insight on the commission process.
How do you begin/prefer to begin the process of a commission?
I’ve been doing commissioned work for a number of years. I first meet with the client, consultant or interior designer and we discuss the theme and what they are looking for. Recently, for Chris Pero, we explored figurative work for a project. Both my abstract and figurative work is often based on painted paper collages. Ultimately its directed by the client. For instance, a hospital might want something playful for pediatrics, while a restaurant might want something more sophisticated. My work (with my husband, John Early) is often described as lively and fresh, so people seek us out for those qualities. The color palate can be adjusted by the client; I try not to duplicate their exact colors but to enrich the color experience.
What is your process for reviews and revisions?
Of course clients like to see where the project is going. With our experience and close listening to the client we are usually able to nail it with only minor tweaks. Our portfolio helps the client see our range and our drawings and mock ups are clear and descriptive.
Do you prefer to paint directly to surface or on a mobile medium?
I like working on a hard surface, usually stable wood panels — even in the studio we tend to do hard surfaces.
How easy is it to hear and apply the feedback of non-artists on a commissioned work?
Once again, a client comes to us because they already like the style. Requests for changes are usually easy to fulfill. Working with Chris on this recent project has been great. The work developsÂ especially smoothly with a sensitiveÂ consultant or interior designer on a project. They can keep everyone in touch and on the same page with project timeline, expectations and budget. Whether through a consultant or directly with the client, communication makes all the difference in a successful experience for everyone.
What was your most exciting success this past year?
We got to do a really interesting body of work for Dallas Children’s Hospital. The installation included murals for the lobbies and the treatment rooms. We also did cut-out panels of animals. The murals started as collages done in our studio , scanned, and enlarged four times the size of the original and printed on acrylic panels in Texas.. It was an elaborate project, and very fulfilling and well facilitated by a local art consultant.
How has your work changed in the past 5 years, 10 years?
We used to do a lot more on-site work directly on the walls. I’m not sure if it’s the market or us presenting installable options. Most projects can’t schedule much on site painting time. Also I feel we are now more fully able to integrate all of our strengths as artists into our designs.
Embarking upon a commissioned piece of art for your company should be an exciting adventure, one that brings leaders in your organization together and helps to illuminate shared goals, visions and aspirations. This process can often uncover latent ideas about your company history, culture and future visions. It can also be fraught with subjective opinion, conflicting ideas about process, budget and more.
Utilizing a professional art consultant can help your group to identify the proper artist in addition to establishing a clear budget, process and timeline. The consultant will also help stakeholders to manage expectations, coordinate reviews with the artist as the work is in process and correctly mount, frame and install your new artwork. Finally, your consultant can help you enhance your original concept by engaging with all key stakeholders, including the artist, and facilitating the sharing of ideas, resulting in a more cohesive and successful outcome.
With that being said, there are still some best practices your group should consider before undertaking the commission.
Good communication and a cohesive decision making group can help to make the commission experience, along with a good consultant, smooth and successful, culminating in a work of art to be proud of for the lifespan of your company or organization.
Are you a Northwest artist with one of these ABCs?
If “yes” then Chris Pero Design may have a job for you. We are looking for new artists to represent to our clients for potential purchase and place, commissioned works and even an opportunity to show in our gallery space. We do ask that the artists we work with are timely and communicative as well as can keep a lid on a project in process until the client is ready for their full reveal. We’re not looking for anyone who wants to undersell an art consultant – we are in this work together for the benefit of all and like to keep our partnerships authentic.
We are looking for some specific work related to ongoing projects in the following areas:
Sound like you? Have a portfolio of previously commissioned work? Even better! Simply email email@example.com with: “NEW ARTIST SUBMISSION” in the subject line and attached examples or links to your work.
We look forward to meeting you!
A sample of some of the artists we represent:
Sarah Law is a rock and roll photographer. She loves photographing fun crowds and cool people. We have used her work in urban buildings to draw hip tenants. This is a “rec room” at the Hue in Seattle and the color collage is above the pool table there.
Jerome Hart is a Portland photographer who digitally enhances his photos. This is in the lobby and restaurant at the Holiday Inn by Portland Airport.
Tim Lundholm is a contemporary artist doing charcoal drawings of urban landscapes.
You want something on your walls to draw young hip clients to your space. Your target market is pretty discerning, and they don’t want to look at just any old impressionist.
Have you considered commissioning art unique to your space and objectives? It’s easier, and more affordable, than you might think. Don’t know any artists? Aren’t sure how to get started? A professional art consultant will help you connect the dots between your blank wall, your potential client or audience, and the artist that can capture your vision.
Often, the process turns out to be less expensive then buying something from a gallery – both for residential and commercial spaces – and the end result is tailored just to you. Your consultant will identify artists to review, manage the process, budget and timeline and the final installation.
The step-by-step process looks something like this:
Concept collaboration: Your art consultant will meet with you to define your target audience and objectives. Your consultant can work from an existing space or from blueprints or with your designer to identify style and potential artists. Studio meetings can be set up between you and local artists to make the best match.
Pero Design has spent years developing relationships with local Northwest Artists. We have a portfolio readily available to view artists we represent, or we can identify a new local artist to meet your needs.
Many clients come to me thinking they need a consultant to help them pick out some existing art or artist to “decorate” their public spaces. What they don’t realize, is that their blank wall is an excellent opportunity to make “art” out their own product or service. Often, they already have at their disposal something that can become a compelling wall display. This will be something that will engage visitors and show off what they do best — whether that is their history, their human capital, their product or their community events. I’m talking about more than just some paintings of food for a restaurant. I’m talking about really making a statement about something unique and personal to that client.
Of course, my client, the Blazers, always do a fantastic job of showing off their players at every opportunity — and why wouldn’t they? It’s their players that inspire their brand and influence their fans. But sometimes it’s their players that need the inspiration. In their training room, we have featured action shots from years past and a three dimensional view box of historic jerseys.
But I have some other clients whose personal “art” selection wasn’t quite so obvious. Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative chose to feature some bright photographs of their community outreach events (including their awesomely engaging green bottle mascot) and their facilities. The MS Society also chose to feature their community and fundraising events. Event photos provide a ton of interest and color to an office space. It shows that these organizations are more than just people behind desks.
Vernier Software and Technology used photos taken at project sites to add interest and action to their break room and classroom.
Myhre Group Architects has an arsenal of fantastic projects to showcase. By installing them on a metal wall with super strong neodymium magnets, they are able to change them up as new projects are completed.
Some ideas we’d like to try:
All of these are examples of using what you do best as your “art.” Perodesign can help you identify what you might already have, or help you to capture your best asset in a way that does more than just “decorates” your space. Give us a ring!
The patient experience begins when they walk in your office door. Art chosen to suit and brighten your reception area will provide attractive and calming spaces for patients to relax and gather their thoughts before their health care visit. Jonathan Nourok’s photographs of flowers and leaves are filled with bold colors and evocative shapes that are both familiar and wondrous. His images provide space for the eyes and mind to wander. Whether the appointment is routine or emergent, Jonathan Nourok’s close up floral-scapes will transform your reception or patient rooms into cheerful and calming spaces. Whatever the color story or visual style that best suits your practice, the artist can accommodate. Prioritize your patient experience with detailed and dynamite artwork from one of the West Coast’s best! Poppy Flax Triptych
Allan Leahy is a local photographer, and this dental clinic has his work throughout. We start here in the lobby. The printer we used for this piece did a salon mount on the back side of acrylic with stainless stand offs. The stand offs were chosen as it worked really well with the finishes the client and designer selected.
In the surgery center, which was not complete when we took these photos, we presented the photos on acrylic without a frame. The cleat we installed them with raised them off the wall about 1/2″. The pieces are secure on the wall, and create a window like feel.
This is always a fun update. The photos are taken on media day by the Trailblazers great marketing team, selected and we then print them. After we have the prints, we finish them by mounting on 3/4″ bamboo with Portland’s eco-conscious display company, Plywerk.
They layout is not easy. It’s a puzzle without a guide, so we move them around quite a bit till it just works. It is a lot of fun when the puzzle is solved.
In addition to new players, Pyramid’s Tap Room at Schonely’s Place inside the Moda Center got a fresh coat of paint and some more photos. We took the old pieces off the wall and after it was ready we did a new layout for the photos, added a more and installed, just in time for the WINNING season opener.
The Jersey case was done a couple years ago, but the light was on it just right, so had to show you. This is a display case for 3 retro jerseys. We wanted them to float in different layers so we worked with bars and cables from Arakawa to make this work.