When a client starts to look at a sculpture, one of the first items we discuss during the design process is what size the piece will be. Naturally, clients usually comment “Life Size.”
This can encompass so many ideas to different people, so having a conversation about the purpose behind the sculpture is usually where we begin.
If you are six foot tall and stand next to a six foot tall sculpture, it will likely seem small. The magnitude of the presence isn’t there. Most of the time, we add a ‘life size’ sculpture to a base to add height, depth, and size to a 6 foot tall sculpture.
In larger areas, I do advise my clients to make the sculpture 25% larger than life. This gives the sculpture an overall spirit and revere that is not as easily attained with a 6′ sculpture When sculpting military, police, and fire, it is imperative to me to show their importance, and this can be achieved by creating a larger sculpture. Sculpting such an important monument, I want viewers to have a feeling of awe and respect when they visit the site.
That being said, sometimes I do advise commissioning a true-to-size sculpture for certain scenes. For example, sculpting the Nevada Fire Fighters Memorial, we chose to do all 5 firefighters in life size. This special memorial was designed for the viewer to be immersed in the scene, going in between the sculptures and being engaged with the scene. It was important for me to have a genuine connection to these firefighters saving a downed firefighter, and it was achieved in making it this size.
The Colorado Law memorial is an example of an over-life-size sculpture. This memorial had a significant amount of open space around it, so creating a larger than life size sculpture to draw the eye in and command the space was important to create the feeling of importance and respect.
Part of the custom sculpture process is making these important decisions. Small changes in size make large scale impacts on viewers and the area that surrounds the artwork.