Frequently asked questions
How much does it cost to commission a custom bronze sculpture?
Short answer; A life size sculpture of a standing human figure may range between $90,000 and $140,000
Long answer; It depends on several factors. A lot of the cost is associated with the foundry process. Complicated surface texture, lots of 'add-ons', like a soldier with rifle, backpack, straps, etc., can add to the cost.
Also the individual artist. Artists can be mercurial. They may charge less if it's a project that appeals to them. They may even donate their services. But if they don't like the project, or if they are already busy with work, they may charge more. Even if an artist decides to donate their time, there will still be foundry and other associated costs to consider.
For instance, what kind of base, or plinth, will the sculpture ultimately reside upon? Elaborate bases may cost as much as the sculpture. Public works may require engineering studies to evaluate the structure for longterm safety and viability. Some may even require a longterm maintenance fund be established.
I like the patina on my sculpture... is it going to stay that color, or change?
Short answer; The patina is going to change over time.
Long answer; A patina is more of a process, than a permanent state. Humidity, temperature, pollutants in the air (car exhaust), chemicals in the water (chlorine, acid rain), oils on the skin, wear or constant abrasion, all can affect the ongoing process that is the surface of a bronze sculpture.
You can try to 'maintain' the patina, but it can get expensive. Most bronzes come from the foundry with a protective coating to 'arrest' the patina process. Periodic reapplication can help to slow the process.
What is a Patina?
Short Answer; Patina simply refers to the color of the surface of a bronze sculpture.
Long answer; The outer surface of bronze is reactive when exposed to the elements. It changes color through a process of oxidization.
A patina can be manipulated artificially to achieve a particular result, through the application of chemicals and heat... or it can be gained naturally, through prolonged exposure to the atmosphere.
Through skillful application, many different shades can be achieved, which can dramatically change the look of a sculpture. The same sculpture is shown below, with two different patinas.
What is meant by limited edition?
Short Answer; The maximum number of copies of a fine sculpture that will be produced.
Long answer; Many things these days are mass-produced. As long as people are buying, they will be produced. A limited edition describes an object produced in very small quantities, typically in a labor intensive fashion.
If a sculpture is marked 2/12, then there should be no more than twelve others like it in existence. There may be fewer. Even successful artists may not sell out an entire edition. They are typically cast when sold, so a sculpture may be marked 2/12, but may actually be only one of 8 total castings.
However, when an artist is long dead and the copyrights expired, extra copies may be cast. There are far more unlicensed Remington bronzes than were originally cast by the artist in his lifetime. These will be less valuable, and are often of marked lower quality.
Why is bronze sculpture so expensive?
Short answer; Bronze is cheap, typically just a few dollars a pound. Skilled labor is expensive. When you purchase a bronze sculpture, you are paying for a talented artist to create the original sculpture, plus a team of highly skilled artisans at a bronze foundry to transform the original into a bronze casting. it can take tens, hundreds, or thousands of hours to create a single bronze sculpture.
Long Answer; Check out this video
Lost wax bronze casting
Are bronze sculptures cast in one piece?
Short Answer; They used to be, but not anymore. Bronze is cast at a dangerous temperature of 2100 degrees fahrenheit. When welding technology improved to the point that seams could be arc welded from bronze rod, it made more sense to melt smaller quantities of bronze and assemble the pieces.
here to watch a video on 18th century lost wax casting methods.
Casting A Monument To Louis XV
Are Bronze Sculptures expensive to maintain?
Short Answer; No, properly constructed and installed, bronze need not be expensive to maintain. Patina is another question.
For instance; The bronze 'Horses of St Mark' stood above the facade of St. Mark's Basilica in Venice from 1204 to 1980. Before that they stood above the Hippodrome in Constantinople from the 8th or 9th Century, or 400-500 years. They are anywhere from 2 to 5 centuries older than that, dating from classical antiquity. So they stood outside for around 2000 years, before being replaced with copies. The originals have now been moved inside.
Contrary opinion; The patina. In recent years, some have begun to feel that the artist's original patina is also worthy of preservation. Some late sculptures have complicated multi-hued acid based patinas that are as delicate as they are beautiful. While the amazing patina may help to sell the artwork to the client, they are, in my opinion, like white elephants... expensive or impossible to maintain. Even kept inside, and never touched, these patinas will change, darkening over time. Placed outside, most would not last out a year.
What is bronze?
Short Answer; Bronze is an alloy of copper and other trace elements, usually tin.
Long Answer; There have been many different compositions of bronze used through the ages. 'The Horses of St Mark's are close to 97% copper. Most bronze alloys have around 90% copper, but may be mixed with tin, aluminum, nickel or zinc. Arsenic. phosphorus or silicon may be added as well. Naval bronze is a distinct mix designed to be corrosion resistant.
The composition of bronzes from antiquity varies so widely, it may now be refered to as 'copper alloy' to prevent misconception.
Who is Deran Wright
Deran Wright is an artist and sculptor working primarily with the medium of lost wax cast bronze. He created his first bronze sculpture in 1979 at the age of 18.
Mr. Wright has worked with corporations, civic organizations, foundations, and individuals over the course of his career, and has created hundreds of sculptures of all descriptions.
His curiosity has led him to experiment with multiple subjects and genres, making his work difficult to classify.
Is he a wildlife artist? Yes. Does he do human figures? Portraits? Yes. Fantasy, mythological subjects? Yes, and yes. Small sculptures? Yes. Large sculptures? Yes.