Interview with Chris O’Rourke | Part 2 – Business Side of Metal Sculpting
You’ve sold sculptures for $150,000. Do you see a Million dollar sale on your horizon?
I believe in the deepest part of my soul that my work will be among some of the top names in metal sculpture in a very short amount of time. Not only do I think $1mil is in my future price point, I believe 10 fold to be realistic.
Is there a business strategy to selling large metal sculptures?
It is my belief that art is essential, unfortunately not all are in that frame of mind. My plan is to prove to clients that life is better with beautiful art works in or around their living or work space, and one way I have had success in doing so is placing work in those spaces, a trial run if you will.
How do you find new clients?
Usually I am introduced to a client through other avenues than art. Once I complete a task for them, they understand what makes me tick and often enquire about sculpture.
What sacrifices did you have to make to become a successful sculptor?
Most of the works I create are on speculation, therefore it is my funds and time that go into the piece. There are many things I have to forfeit in order to complete a sculpture. I have passed on vacations, well deserved upgrades in almost every facet of life, and even some “essentials”.
Do you work with just metals or have you tried other material?
As a metal specialist, most other materials have a very steep learning curve, especially after the fundamentals are understood. I have worked with wood, glass, and clay with a fair amount of success.
What is your most exotics sculpture?
One piece that I would consider exotic and unique is “Mother”, partly because the taking of the mold requires physical contact with the subject. The uniqueness would stem from the process in which it was created. Many of my works are sheet goods cut, rolled, twisted, and welded, whereas “Mother” is solid rod stacked and welded in a deliberate way to get the shape.
Who are your clients?
My work is diverse enough for any clientele. I have several private collectors, but also a fair amount of public and corporate art installations under my belt. Anyone who is passionate about art, especially sculpture is more than welcome to contact me, not just about pieces that are already complete, but commissions too. I believe all types of art have great investment potential.
What advice would you give to young art entrepreneurs or anyone that doesn’t have a lot of money but wishes to become a sculptor?
Best advice I have to offer is to master your craft before getting in too deep. In my humble opinion it’s always best to have another source of income to satisfy the day to day expenses. Anyone can build or create, but to stand out amongst others you must be a cut above. Also to be cautious making money where your passion is, as it is a good way to lose it.
Is high-end metal sculpting an exclusive business?
There is nothing exclusive about being an artist, my clients on the other hand are. It is an art in itself to jump back and forth between the two worlds as seamlessly as I’m told I do. I am always looking for clients as self-promotion is not a task as much as it is a habit.
Are metal sculptures a good investment?
I think it is more about the individual than the type of art when talking about collectability and appreciation. I also believe if it moves you, it is a good investment.
Does this business require travel?
I have shown work as far east as Michigan and have visited clients in the middle of the pacific ocean. There is potential for travel if one chooses.
How has COVID impacted your business and what changes, if any, did you have to make?
Because I work alone, COVID only affected the field aspect of my work, which is a very small part.
Outside of metal sculpting, what types of art do you like to surround yourself with?
I really enjoy 2D paintings that are very colorful or unique in other ways. My grandmother was a painter and I have always gravitated to canvas.
Do NFTs interest you as an artist?
I am not much of a digital guy and that has not always served me well. I must stay true to my soul and remain on my current path for that is where my true passion lies.
What are your most favorite artworks or artists and why?
I am a fan of Kapoor, Koons, and a non-artist but great architect Frank Gehry. The “Cloud Gate” in Chicago is fascinating. The sales figures from Koons are staggering. All Gehry’s buildings are breathtaking.
What books about art, money or wealth preservation would you recommend to our readers?
“Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” and “Rich Dad Poor Dad”.
What is the primary skill set one must possess to be a good sculptor?
Patience and dedication seem to have taken me this far, and I’m not sure it will ever fail me.
Part 1 of our Exclusive Interview with Metal Sculpture Artist Chris O’Rourke – $150,000 Statue