Visual Communication: From Artist Imagination to Project Proposal

Sketch by Madacsi
Final presentation drawing of Mist in the Boughs, the piece upon which Tulsa Cloud was based.

Sculpture calls to our sense of touch. Even cordoned off or under glass, we sense the work’s volume, weight, and surface texture through a kind of primal bodily empathy. For sculptors pursuing commissions, it’s essential to communicate the physical qualities of their work accurately. Susan Madacsi, whose work in forged steel is richly textured and pigmented, likes to share “hard samples” as well as drawings with her clients.

Color samples provided by the client (left) alongside samples of Madacsi’s own work (right).

“I begin by sending images of existing work, and encourage my clients to let me do drawings based on photos or sketches of the installation space. I also ask for color and fabric swatches, paint chips, etc.—anything the client thinks will help me design for the space. I usually request a drawing fee. Once the client approves a final drawing, I ask for a working deposit of 50% of the project estimate. Final payment is due at the time of shipping.”

Madacsi’s recently completed a commission for SafeNet, a women’s shelter in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Art consultants Cynthia Stewart and Shana Briggs of Art Collections, Inc. proposed Madacsi’s work after meeting her at a trade show, and helped to coordinate the project’s details. “With this commission, the client sent me color swatches of fabric and paint,” Madacsi explains. “This is always very helpful in catering to the client’s aesthetic.”

To communicate the texture and craftsmanship of her work, Madacsi often sends forged and painted elements to clients as well. These “hard samples” express the physical presence of her work—from its steely power to its subtly distressed surfaces—in a way that even the most accurate drawing simply can’t communicate.

Tulsa Cloud by Susan Madacsi
Tulsa Cloud by Susan Madacsi, forged and enameled steel. Commissioned for SafeNet, Tulsa, OK.