Client: Private Client at Ritz Carlton Residences
Location: Dallas, TX, United States
Completion date: 2021
Artwork budget: $175,000
Brad Oldham Sculpture
Brad Oldham Sculpture
Using his knitting needles to conduct the symphonic sounds of the city, the “Maestro” weaves together the views of the Dallas skyline that he observes from his home to compose a story of connectivity. The unified community of diverse individuals and businesses visible from his penthouse balcony is a marvel. The “Maestro” is also a master of finding potential and storing it for the future, as demonstrated by the acorn under his foot. There are four larger acorn sculptures presumably hid around the balcony by the “Maestro”, are also made in stainless steel, measuring 20- to 24-inches in length.
Standing at 6 ½ feet tall in his stainless-steel skin polished to a mirror finish, the Maestro has a big personality that shoulders the feel of the busy city, yet he offers curiously intimate moments. His content expression is wildly appealing, and his hidden acorns are a conversation starter. As the sun sets behind the “Maestro” and the Dallas skyline lights up, the reflections discovered in the “Maestro” show the lights and colors of the big Texas sky.
After visiting the sizable outdoor balcony on the 21st floor of the Ritz Carlton Residences and talking with our client, we set out to create a sight-specific sculpture with these goals:
- Strike a balance between playfulness and sophistication.
- Create a strong sense of place to spark joy and to interact with the skyline surroundings playfully and dynamically.
- React to the downtown neighborhoods seen from the balcony.
- Leverage sightlines – from the “Maestro” location, the viewer can see the downtown Dallas Arts District to the south, specifically the Meyerson Symphony Center, the client’s business offices three blocks west, and stunning skyline views all around.
- Create a sculpture with a compelling personality, just like having a guest at a balcony gathering.
- Bring life to the balcony in both daytime and nighttime visits.
For public or private commissions, we consider the physical space, historical or anecdotal information about the location, and the people who will engage with the sculpture. The first step involves getting to know the space and the people who live in it. The family of four is very warm, clever, and enjoys time with extended family and friends. When we were introduced to the project, they sold their single family home and were in the process of renovating the penthouse. Their balcony would function as their backyard they had in their previous home.
Our sculpture studio is located six blocks from our client, and we know downtown Dallas very well. We designed three, narrative-based concepts and pencil sketches for them to consider, and they choose the “Maestro” immediately. We agreed that the “Maestro” struck the right chord for this unique location and set about making him. We sculpted a maquette in clay for final approvals, then sculpted the piece at full scale, made a fiberglass mold, cut and hand hammered sheets of stainless steel to shape, and polished to a reflective finish. The hexagon-shaped base is made of black granite with a honed finish. At 2,300 pounds, the base firmly anchors the sculpture in place.
Humans have been personalizing their homes with artwork since the beginning of time. A coat of arms or family crests might be found sculpted into architectural detail of homes to mark the property and distinguish it from others. The “Maestro” has come to represent this family’s clever, gregarious personality in a fine-art manner, making the home unique to them. We made 6-inch-tall desktop editions of the “Maestro” for the client to distribute as gifts to family and friends to spread his story of connectivity to their homes as well. We also made bronze cocktail stir sticks featuring a small “Maestro” on top of the stick and an acorn on the tip to stir in potential for each cocktail served in their home. As artists, it has been a joy to see how the "Maestro" and his personality have become part of this family’s home.