Commissioning Steps



Private Commissions 

Having a portrait bust can be an exciting experience and the portrait will be a very unique object in your life. Bust can also be made to honor a treasured forebear who has a special place in your family history. Having a portrait of a loved one who left is a way to remember her or him forever. Moreover, busts can also be made as a celebration of a child, spouse, parent or grandparent as well as, it can be made for animals, such as a pet dog or a horse.

Here are some steps to commissioning a personal portrait. It is my intention to produce a lasting work of art that reflects, in a very deep, the likeness of the person portrayed. In a way, you can consider this commission as an artwork that it’s going to accompany to you and your family for centuries.

I work from different combinations of live sittings, measurements, still photos. I always prefer to work from life.  It is easier to reveal the soul by direct interaction with the subject. When the portrait is being done posthumously or the subject is not available for sittings, I can work from photos only, and create a sculpture from piecemeal information, drawings or limited photographic records from different ages and poses. 


Steps:
If you are in the Miami (or surrounding) area, it is preferable that I meet with you for an initial consultation and photo session. This should take approximately one or two hours. During this talk, it will take place discussions of pose, expression, clothing, hairstyle, age, as well as select the material, size, surface finish (patinas or paints) and edition number (number of copies). It could be considered if you would like to have a favorite piece of jewelry, clothing item, etc., included in the piece as a characteristic of the individual. 

I would then request one, two or three live sittings to render an accurate likeness. Capturing a likeness in clay is a fascinating and interactive process because it is a process that is enriched with the dialogue between the artist and the individual portrayed. During the work develops, artist can know the character of the client as well as client's feedback enriches the quality of the experience and the final sculpture. Anyway, I can work from the photos that I took in case you couldn't attend live sittings.

If you (or the subject) are not available or live far away, you may submit quality photos. You can either mail them or send digital photos through email. The more detailed and the more different angles, the better. Here is a sample of the different angles for photos. You can also find more details about pictures below. On the other hand, if the portrait is being done posthumously I will need the more amount of visual information of the person in order to build the best image possible. 

Scale:
You may order a size between 30-200% life-size (30, 50, 75, 100, 120, 150 and 200%). I would recommend 100%. Life-size scale busts are approximately 18 inches high, so they are a good size for displaying without being overpowering. Make sure that you measure the space if there are any restrictions. You may have the portrait made as a head only, head and chest or head and shoulders. I also make custom small head portraits and you can order your own mini portrait head of your child or grandchild (1/3 scale).

Material:
The original bust model is made in clay (either ceramic clay or plasteline). From that model I can make one terracotta (fired clays) or plaster cast (strong gypsums as hydrostone or hydrocal). Those techniques are recommended for indoors and they are more affordable than bronze. If bronze is requested, I will take model in clay to foundry where it will be cast for a professional team.  It is available to order several copies made as gifts for family members. Bronze is recommended for pieces to be placed outdoors, but can also be placed indoors. Although there are many examples of ancient terracotta pieces in museums, bronze is the most durable medium as a finished work.
  • Terracotta: Ceramic clay + patinas
  • Plaster Cast: Hydrocal or hydrostone + patinas
  • Bronze: Traditional lost wax cast bronze is virtually indestructible. Hot cast can be ordered in any size, including monumental.

Surfaces color of the finished piece:
Terracotta is an old and beautiful technique, and I can leave the surface with the natural color of clay or. Plaster cast also can be left with the original color, usually in beige or bone white, or can also be applied paints or metal patinas. In some cases, it will be applied a clear wax coat to cover the final surface. 

Times:
Once I begin on your project, the total time involved in creating a portrait is approximately 8 to 10 weeks for ceramic clay or plaster cast, which varies depending upon size and several other considerations, and plan on at least 3 additional months for bronze. 

Price:
The standard price for plaster cast and terracotta busts (life-size scale, head and shoulders, approximately 18 - 20 inches height) is $3,000, plus shipping if apply. Prices vary depending upon the requirements of the client regarding scale, size, material and complexity of the project. Beside, busts can also be cast in bronze. The standard price for busts in bronze is about $6,000 (life-size scale). Contact us for details if you are interested in any of these options. 

Payment:
Regarding payment process, there is a non refundable deposit of $500 when a bust is commissioned. 50% of the remaining cost is required upon client approval of the clay finished model. Client should have to review and approval the finished model before the bust goes to the final material. Client should see the bust in person or I'll send digital photos by email. The remainder cost is required when the bust is ready for delivery or ship.

If you're interested in commissioning a portrait bust, please contact me at this email: carlospradoart@yahoo.com
Thank you so much for being interested in my work.

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Photographs:
Working from live sittings is always the preferred method for creating a portrait; however, I realize this is not always practical or possible. If you are submitting photos (rather than have me take them), please follow the next guidelines:
  • Take the photos against a solid background (preferably white or light).
  • Use a tripod to eliminate jiggles and blurry images. Some digital cameras have notoriously slow captures and it's easy to get fuzzy photos if something is not holding the camera perfectly still.
  • Try to stand back about 10 feet and use the camera's zoom capabilities to come in close. This eliminates proportional distortion that occurs at close range.
  • High resolution digital photos are preferred over 10 Megapixels. I can accept the incoming images as no more than 5Mb attachments per email (one per message). Another excellent option is to place the images on a CD and mail them to me.
  • If possible, take a series photos in 1/8 incremental turns all around the head, one angled down on, and one angled up at the subject - 16 photos minimum. Please, follow the outline for the different angles. The more the better and additional sets at different eye levels are extremely helpful.
  • Please - no teeth. There is something genuinely creepy about a sculpture that has the mouth open or teeth showing. Just a pleasant, relaxed expression is best.








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