Artist Feature: David Hostetler

Summertime Lady
Summertime Lady by David Hostetler, bronze sculpture. Commissioned for Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton, NJ.

David Hostetler has been a wood sculptor and bronze artist for over sixty years. Here, he details his beginnings and uses his decades of experience in commissioned work to provide advice to artists and design professionals.

How did you get started?

I was wounded in WWII and while under medical care, the Red Cross was handing out art materials. My bedmate was an artist so I thought I would try. I loved drawing and painting. I applied to Indiana University—my father though I was going into engineering. I went to Ohio University for my masters. Stayed on to teach for 40 years and pursue my passion of art-making, specifically wood and bronze sculpture.

David Hostetler
Artist David Hostetler in his studio. Photo by Larry Hamel Lambert.

What is your best advice for artists on commission?

Get a lawyer who knows copyrights and specifically in art and moral rights. Make sure your contract specifies that you will hire a professional photographer to photograph the completed project and that you own the photos. Put in your budget the cost of hiring a PR person to promote the completed project. Make sure there are provisions to have the artwork properly labeled (signage).

What’s one thing you’d like design professionals to know about how to best work with artists on a commission project?

Be very clear to artist what your needs are—area to be covered, size, audience you are trying to reach, realistic budget and timeline—up front. The artist needs to tell you how long it takes to make art – a lot of art consultants, developers etc. do not understand how long it take to cast a bronze, no less all the stages just to get to that point.