People commission others to do their work all the time. Art can be in many forms. One might say that people commission me to restore their cars. My work was on display in a few museums.WOW. Just... Wow.
We once commissioned a painting of a family member's dog and gave it to them as a wedding gift. It was probably the most fun gift I've ever participated in.
Towards the end of last year my wife sent me a link to an artist, as she often does. It doesn't necessarily mean she wants something from that artist, it's just a means of sharing. She was especially taken by this NY artist's critters. Since it's nearly impossible for her to pull the trigger and actually spend money, I went on a spree.
I contacted the artist and he gently put me off. Well, he kinda blew me off as he was quite busy. When the Pandemic hit his phones stopped ringing, as did everyone's in the art community. Galleries locked down, lifestyle shows closed down and cancelled. Most artist friends used the lock down time to create new art for a market that no longer exists. Art is a huge segment of our economy that's been devastated. So may people are dumping art onto the secondary market that buying newly crafted art has gotten very expensive by comparison. Many don't know what the secondary market is. It can be a crushing place to be. My father invested his retirement money in new art, a really silly thing to do. What was fashionable 40 years is not necessary valuable today. This is how he secondary market works. Like selling a used car to a dealer, you do so at a lower price than retail so the dealer makes money and stays in business. In the art world it appears that unlike cars, the value drops by 75% as you carry the art out the door. If I bought an item for $1,000 the resale price drops by 50% and you get half of that so the dealer can stick your folly on a shelf and still make money when it's sold in a week, or a year. So, buying newly crafted art for investment is a poor choice. You buy new art to enjoy and participate in the experience. You buy used art, made by a dead artist, for investment.
So, I saw Philippe's work and asked if he would do a giraffe bust for my wife as an anniversary gift to celebrate our 48th. I'm impossible to buy for. I contacted the artist and started getting educated on his practices. He creates the clay art at no charge. If you don't like what he produces you move on. Before he starts he makes you aware of the cost in making a ceramic or a bronze. If you select a ceramic he builds it hollow, for that purpose. Solid clay will explode in the firing process. If it's end is to be made in bronze the original is disposable once a mold has been made. It's also a means to make additional copies on demand. Going in I knew that he was planning a limited edition of 6.
Here's https://philippefaraut.com making the giraffe bust.
In our conversations we got to talking about our lone-term spouses and he asked if I would consider a package including a bust of my wife. I was intrigued. She did a life cast by https://www.marcsijan.com in 1989 and I've immortalized her in sculpture before, se we explored that. At that point it was supposed to be a surprise gift. I gathered up and scanned 150 photos of her from the 50 years we've been together. While I don't think she's changed that much he wanted to sculpt her at about half her current age. I have't been married 48 years by being stupid. Surprising her with a bust at 30-ish might not have gone over well, so I brought her in on the process. While I like surprising her, the involvement was a sufficient surprise. This is one of one, but I would not object to someone requesting a copy.
This is astounding. You can see the photos that he used in his demonstration. The change he makes is worth watching. The video goes on to show the mold-making process. The foundry took some shots that will be part of the video.