Sometimes clients of a seasoned artist need look no further than that artist’s own portfolio when commissioning a new work of art. Take, for example, Swiss-born artist Jean Jacques Porret, who has more than 400 works of art to his name.
“People either come to me and say ‘I like this piece you did, but I want to change these things’ or ‘I want this piece, but I need it to be much larger,’” says Porret. “Or they need a sculpture for a particular place, in which case I ask for a description and images of the space in order to create something new.”
In 1998 he designed a sculpture entitled “Legacy,” which was eventually installed in the rose garden of a private residence in 2001. When the homeowners decided later that they wanted a second sculpture to complement “Legacy,” in the same style, shape, and size, they returned to Porret for a new design.
“I can be inspired in my work by something I see while driving, by a person sitting on a bench, or by the shape of a woman’s skirt gently blown by the wind,” explains Porret, who was influenced early in his career by the work of Henry Moore, with whom he studied for a short time. “I begin every piece with a sketch,” he notes, “working with it until it becomes something I like.”
From the sketch Porret creates a clay maquette, which he then enlarges ten to twenty times in AutoCAD, which allows him to adjust for proportion and scale. This design is then recreated in 1-2” strips of Styrofoam and then finished in plaster to create his mold. From the mold Porret uses the lost-wax process to cast his pieces in bronze.
The homeowners who commissioned Porret to create a second sculpture approved the design at the sketch stage, then again for the maquette, which required some major adjustments from the sketch to account for proportion. “I kept modifying and changing it until it flowed and was pleasing to the eye,” says Porret of the process.
“Audacieuse,” which means “bold” or “daring,” was installed in the clients’ garden in 2011, where it provides the ideal complement to “Legacy.”