Friday, February 11, 2011

Public Art in Process: Eric Wright (3 of 3)

From concept to completion, artist Eric Wright will overview preparing his recent public art commission for the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority in three blog posts. See the first post here and second post on Wednesday.  
Commissioned artists (l to r) Dan Garrett, Eric Wright, &
Eric Baker with Mentor Lynn Basa (2nd from L).
Guest author: Eric Wright
If the Barrier Relic project was not part of a public art mentorship provided by Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition (OVAC) and Oklahoma Art in Public Places (OAIPP), I probably would have never applied.   Both agencies strongly advocate for Oklahoma artists and provide so many things to help us succeed as professionals.  I knew it could be a great learning experience and seized the opportunity with both hands.

The Artist's Guide to Public Art: How to Find and Win CommissionsOVAC and OAIPP didn’t just bring anyone in as a mentor.  They brought an experienced public artist who literally wrote the book on the subject – “The Artist’s Guide to Public Art: How to Find and Win Commissions.”  Lynn Basa definitely fulfilled her role throughout the entire process.  She pushed hard in the beginning to get all of us on the same page and ready for the demanding first steps.  As the project(s) unfolded, she was there to provide advice and support – many of my e-mails had replies within a half hour!  She held nothing back, either.  If something wasn’t good, she would say so and then offer advice on whatever next step was necessary to correct it.  She rode the roller coaster with us the entire time.

The most important thing I have taken away from this mentorship is that things truly are what you make them.  I had never really engaged teachers throughout school and got by okay, yet have learned in my adult years to jump in and take advantage of opportunities that present themselves.  The process of making my first public artwork was a blast!  While it might have been daunting, everyone involved was extremely supportive and did what they could to make it a success.

The project, with its processes of working with various agencies and contractors, has strengthened my belief that something scary gives you all the more reason to do it.

See a full slideshow of images from his process here
Learn more about the Oklahoma Public Art Mentorship, other artists' projects and Wright through this Art Focus Oklahoma article or on this page

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