Whenever I start a commission, I work closely with clients to gain a full understanding of their expectations including that of the community or users of the space and how the commission can respond to the site.
I start with a consultation process, which might take the form of a hands on workshop or talk with clients or users of the space. While doing this I start to develop two to three options so that people have something visual to look at.
If the commission is a participatory project, workshops will involve people making elements that might come together to form the final piece. If designing a piece myself, I spend time in my studio to develop the concept for the artwork, thinking about the sense of place – whether it is rooted in the history of the area or its culture, something that people can relate to.
As part of my own thought process, I always use drawing, painting or printmaking, the process of drawing or creating prints helps ideas to develop – this is how I develop the design visually, looking at form and colour and the content, such as text. When I work with printmaking, creating stencils of designs using printmaking in different ways, whether it is stencils or cut-outs- it is through printmaking that I can look at the form, the negative and positive of space. My prints translate to work etched in glass or stone or cut out of metal or granite. After the design has been selected by the client, we choose the best material for the artwork and the site.
For me it is important that people can relate to the final artwork that I create.