Visual Communication: From Artist Imagination to Project Proposal

Daniel Goldstein created this video to win a commission for an atrium sculpture at Texas State University. The project was completed and installed December 2012.

The process of creating a commissioned work of art is typically not done in a vacuum. The colors, forms, and textures that come to life as a work of art inside the artist’s mind must often be conveyed in some concrete way to a client or committee, then perhaps tweaked or altered in some way, before a brush ever touches canvas or a chisel ever touches stone.

How an artist communicates his or her vision for a specific project is an art all its own. Like the artwork itself, the presentation may take many forms, in a variety of media. The Art Commission recently asked artist Daniel Goldstein to explain how he shares his artistic vision for a project through the art of video.

“Daniel’s video was instrumental in selling this piece to the client. It helped the committee clearly visualize the concept, and created a connection with the artist and his vision. The client had tears in her eyes after seeing the animated 3D renderings and hearing Daniel’s beautiful description of the piece.” –Jennifer Seay, art consultant, Art + Artisans

“When I’m preparing to submit a proposal, I have a very specific process that I follow. I get a clear idea of the space using floor plans, elevations, photos, and if possible, a visit to the site. Then the design process begins.

“This entails looking at hundreds—sometimes thousands—of images relating to certain themes and ideas. At the same time, I also begin to sketch. I try not to get too fixated on any one concept, dreaming up as many ideas as possible until I feel like ‘the well’ has run dry.

“Once the client and I have decided on a definite design, I bring together my visualization team of animator, 3D renderer, and filmmaker/film editor. Using my sketches and my Photoshop renderings, my animator creates a 3D model of the sculpture or mobile. The 3D renderer then takes stills from this animation and places these into images of the space for which the work has been designed.

“Sometimes these images are photographs, but usually they are either precise architectural plans or photo-realistic renderings. The goal is to make the artwork look as real as possible, and to leave nothing to the imagination. After this, the animation and the renderings become part of a video made by a filmmaker/film editor.

“The video is where I get the chance to tell the client ‘the story’ of the piece, how it relates to the space, and how it will connect to the members of the public who will be experiencing the work on a daily basis. This visual storytelling allows the client to enter into the creative process, as well as the collective experience of the public work of art. The video has proven to be the most effective way to communicate both the overarching concept and the specifics of the project to my clients. It is also an excellent tool for fundraising and for communicating to board members, contractors, architects, and other collaborators. And, of course, the video is a great promotional tool for the artist!”

River of Leaves by Daniel Goldstein, North Campus Housing Complex, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX. Art Consultant: Jennifer Seay, President, Art + Artisans.