Custom Paint: Yay or Nay?

There’s nothing like a splash of color to liven up a piece of sculpture. And it’s not just about livening it up--color can be used to communicate meaning. When it comes to paint, what kind do sculptors like to use? What colors do they like, and why?


One of our sculptors (and the owner of our delightful Sculpture Grounds), Gilbert Boro, often uses custom paint. If you visit the grounds, you’ll notice that in many of the pieces. How can you tell? Well, custom paint is exactly that--custom.


You’re not going to see it anywhere else.


One of our favorite colors is Boro’s Custom Red paint, and you can tell it’s one of his favorites, too, because it appears on several works, such as his iconic Pipehenge. This work is playful, and so is its color.


Red can be used to symbolize so much, and Boro’s custom version is no different. Some of his newest pieces, in the Musical Masterworks series, sport the custom red paint. Come visit and take a look at Nest and Wing. These pieces are movement and energy themselves, and the custom red conveys that.


Here’s another great reason to utilize custom paint colors: When artwork lives outside throughout the seasons (especially here in New England), it needs a touch up from time to time. With custom paint colors, there’s no worry about the manufacturer changing their formula and coming out with a different tint or hue.


Custom paint colors mean consistency over the years. Custom paints allow large-scale outdoor sculptures to weather the outdoors in ways that factory-blended colors could not.


This brings up another important point. For sculptors who are creating outdoor work, it’s important to consider how your work will look over time, exposed to the elements. Will a petina help or harm the work? What about rust? Will cold or moisture affect it? Every material has a part to play, just like the coat of paint that give a work so much character.

One size does not fit all!

Why do some sculptors--like our own illustrious Gilbert Boro--create multiple versions of the same work of art? It’s not just so that they can sell multiple copies of the same idea. Rather, the same composition can create different results when fabricated at a different size. Besides that, creating a piece as a smaller or larger version of itself can offer an artist some interesting challenges. Let’s take a moment to look at some of the challenges presented by creating a smaller version of a piece.

After the Race II/8 Electric Blue by Gilbert Boro


Well, this might seem like a gift--a larger piece that might require quite a bit of materials would surely be more work to produce than a smaller version...right?


Not necessarily. Sometimes creating the same effect with smaller materials and tools can be even more difficult than fabricating on a larger scale. This is because more intricacy is required. Everything has to be done with the highest level of skill.


While materials may cost less money in a smaller piece, that doesn’t mean the cost overall is always less. Sometimes it just takes longer to finesse smaller parts into the whole.


When it comes to sculptures, scale matters. We’ve talked about this before when we discussed where to place a sculpture. But if you’re going to create a sculpture, and you originally plan to place it outside, you might think about how it will look in various seasons, or changing light.


If you’re going to create a smaller version of a piece, you probably won’t have those concerns, which means you might make different decisions on materials or composition. You might want to solve a different sculptural “problem” with the same notion.

You might end up with a piece that looks slightly different from the original, which can create an exciting discussion of the theme of the work(s).

After the Race II/32" Electric Blue by Gilbert Boro


Speaking of composition, does the balance change with a smaller version of a piece? It can--and that can lead to compositional changes and shifts. It’s not uncommon to discover a whole new idea by making a smaller version of a piece.


You might decide to flip the composition, or change the focal point. If you’re creating a large-scale sculpture that people will be looking up at, and then you make a smaller version that will sit below their line of sight, does that necessitate a change in composition?

The answer just might.


It’s no surprise to see a smaller version of a sculpture reach a broader audience. The private collector might not have the space to exhibit large works in the same way a university can, for example. Private collectors may enjoy being able to display your work indoors, on tabletops, or as centerpieces.


Then there’s the matter of cost. Even if a smaller sculpture can cost more on a ratio basis, chances are a one-foot-tall piece will cost less than a twelve-foot-tall piece. This opens sculptors up to a broader audience who might be more prepared to invest in the one-foot-tall piece.


There are merits to creating smaller versions of a sculpture, as you can see. At the end of the day, though, some sculptors just like to continue to play with an idea to see what new puzzles they can unlock.


Sculpting is, after all, puzzle-solving. Maybe Dan Brown will take this into account with his next book?

Abstract Art: 3 Reasons We Need It

What is abstract art? To define so broad a category of artistic work succinctly is no mean feat, but let us use this definition:


Abstract representation in art is achieved not through literal or figurative forms, but rather through shapes, color, and composition.


Many who are new to viewing art may confuse abstract and contemporary art, when really, they are quite different. Abstraction in art has existed since humans began creating art. Additionally, abstraction can occur in degrees.


As far as Contemporary Art is concerned, it can be abstract or not. What defines Contemporary Art is not its abstraction, but rather its development from postmodern art. Understanding the differences and nuances between these categories of artistic expression is crucial to understanding works of art themselves, and it is that understanding which ushers in an appreciation for abstract art and its place in society.


Viewing Through Shape


Shape defines both positive and negative space. Positive space is occupied by shape, while negative space is any area within a work of art not occupied by shape. Understanding and interacting with shape is crucial to enjoying any work of art, but this is especially so with sculpture.


In sculpture, negative space can convey just as much value as positive space, or more in some cases. When selecting a work of art to display in a home, business, municipal building or campus, or an outdoor space, careful consideration of shape is crucial.


Viewing Through Color


Jackson Pollock’s Number 1, painted in 1948, is a stunning example of the importance of learning to view a work of art through color. Aside from Pollock’s handprints in the upper right corner, this piece is an exemplary work of Abstract Expressionism. It is Pollock’s layering of color that adds depth to this piece--what may initially look like a haphazard spillage of paint was in fact intentional and meticulous.


Color is meaningful in sculpture, too. Just as with paintings, the presence or absence of color can make a statement. Additionally, certain groups of colors can produce specific visual experiences. For example, use of complementary colors (blue and orange, purple and yellow, red and green, to name a few pairs), will create visual energy in a piece.


Viewing Through Composition


The composition of a piece describes the flow and balance of elements. Some artists strive to question balance while others may aim to achieve it. Where sculpture is concerned, balance may refer either to symmetry or adhering to the law of gravity. Skilled artists can, if they wish, create illusions of balance by manipulating the composition of a piece.


Composition takes into account the interactions between shape and color, so that we might say that viewing abstract art through composition is to view it holistically. It is interesting to note that where sculpture is concerned, composition can change depending on from where the work is viewed. This must be taken into account when placing a work of sculpture.


So why do we need abstract art? We’ll give you three reasons!


1. Abstract art can achieve timeless meaning.


Figurative art--that is, artwork that realistically represents its subject--can open the door to societal ideals and history, but abstract art can grow and develop with changing ideals. That is to say that abstract art takes on new meaning, while retaining its original significance, as time passes. It is as much alive as we are.


2. Abstract art invites viewers to think and engage creatively.


Much as fiction writers attempt to show, not tell, in order to ignite a reader’s imagination, so too do abstract artists excite the imagination of viewers. The more abstract a work of art, the more a viewer must think in order to understand its representation and meaning. Because of this, there is more room for a variety of ideas and viewers can grow both in their understanding and appreciation for art and the world around them by exchanging these ideas.


3. Abstract art creates art.


When a work of abstract art--especially a sculpture--is placed, the space it occupies becomes art. Anyone also occupying that space engages with that sculpture, and therefore becomes part of the artistic experience as well.


We need abstract art. We need abstract sculpture.


We need to engage with shapes, colors, and compositions. We need to experience timeless meaning; we need to think and engage creatively. Through abstract art we discover and celebrate common ground, as well as our differences. That is why abstract art transcends the art world. We welcome it into our homes, our businesses, our schools, our hospitals, and our parks.


Visit Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds to engage with our sculpture collection, and to experience shape, color, and composition.


Buying Sculpture: 6 Things You Must Know

You have found the perfect work of art for your home or do you go about procuring the sculpture? There is more than simply exchanging money to buying artwork, but don't worry. We've created this guide to take you from point A to point B, so that you can enjoy your new sculpture.

#1: Buying or bidding?

Before you buy any sculpture, large or small, you need to decide how you will buy. You can buy it outright, either from a gallery, an artist, or an art dealership website, or you can buy it at auction from either an auction house or website.

There are benefits to each method of purchasing sculpture. When you buy it outright, you can be certain of owning the piece. You will not have to worry that you are in a bidding war for a work of art that really speaks to you. 

In contrast, an auction offers the possibility to pay less than you might have if you bought the sculpture out right. Some consumers enjoy the activity of an auction, the thrill of not knowing whether or not they will ultimately own the piece. 

In the end, whether you buy or bid comes down to personal preference, finances, and how much you are drawn to a particular piece of artwork.

#2: Measure Twice, Buy Once

If you are sewing a jacket, even with a pattern, you measure twice and cut once to avoid wasting fabric, and ultimately money. When you buy a sculpture, returning it because it is, as it turns out, too large for the intended space, is not typically considered a valid reason to return the piece.

That is why you need to measure twice and buy (or bid) once. Unlike a painting, sculptures are three dimensional so make certain that you are accounting for length, width, and height. 

One suggestion is to use a cardboard box (or several stacked or adhered together) that matches the dimensions of your intended acquisition to see, after you measure, how an object of the sculpture's size will fit into the given space. Just as you might tape paint samples to a wall before buying gallons of paint, so too should you take a day or two to see how the space flows with something fitting the sculpture's dimensions. 

Of course, your new sculpture will look much better than a stack of cardboard boxes.

#3: Style for Style

Does your home or corporate space have a certain style? If so, you will want to find a work of art that matches that style. If you have a home filled with modern furniture, abstract sculpture would fit well with the style of your home. 

Style is not only about types of furniture, though. The colors you use play a part in creating style, too. For example, you do not often see a beach home filled with dark colors. The sculpture you buy should complement the color style, or scheme, of its intended space.

The feel of a place matters, too. If your company or organization services high-end clients, for example, you want the sculpture you select to mirror that element. On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you want to promote a fun, casual atmosphere in your organization, a kinetic sculpture featuring bright colors might best suit your needs. It's rare that a buyer will want to create dissonance with a work of art.

#4: Shipping Your New Piece

Before you buy, understand the shipping terms, conditions, and potential costs. Will you have to pay for shipping? What about insurance? How will the sculpture be transported? What about assembly?

If you really want a particular work of art, these details will not get in the way. However, understanding what an artist, gallery, or dealer/auction website expect of you as the buyer, and what you can expect in turn, creates a smoother transition of ownership from the artist to you or your organization.

Do not be afraid to ask questions ahead of, or during, the buying process. There is no such thing as a "stupid" question and any artist, dealer, or gallery worth your time and money will happily provide information whether you are new to collecting art or a seasoned veteran.

#5: Certificate of Authenticity

A Certificate of Authenticity assures that should you choose to treat a particular sculpture as an investment, either for your own resale or as an inheritance, the sculpture will be attributed to the sculptor who conceived and created the work.

Whether you plan on spending a few hundred, a few thousand, or even a few million dollars on a sculpture, you should make sure you obtain a Certificate of Authenticity. Without that, you risk devaluing your investment from a monetary standpoint.

Additionally, should you wish to insure the piece (and you should add it as an itemized insured object), the Certificate of Authenticity will protect your investment in the event of a loss.

#6: Sculpture Maintenance and Repair

Some sculptures may require upkeep. Find out from the artist or dealer what kind of maintenance is required. Below are some questions you might want to ask:

  • Are there special products I should use to clean my new sculpture?
  • Are there weather conditions that might harm the sculpture and if so, how do I protect it from the elements?
  • If there are moving parts to a sculpture, do they need to be oiled or otherwise maintained?
  • Is it possible to purchase repairs if I should accidentally damage or otherwise break the sculpture?
  • If the sculpture is kinetic or interactive, does it have a weight limit it can support?

Now that you are equipped to successfully buy sculpture for your home or organization, the question is where do you buy? In addition to buying directly from a gallery or artist, we have mentioned some online sites. A great place to start is Saatchi, where you can find artwork to complement any space.

Art & Wine! Our favorite Things!


Join us September 16th & 17thThe Study Fine Wines & Spirits1066 North Street · Greenwich, CT 06831

Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds is honored to have our small-scale sculptures on display at The Study Fine Wines & Spirits, a boutique wine & spirit shoppe located in the heart of Greenwich, CT.

Gilbert Boro's larger than life work will be scaled down for your viewing pleasure and paired with wine that is just as committed to the art life, by Cenyth and Galerie.

Stop in to The Study Friday September 16th & Saturday September 17th anytime between 11am-7pm to sample these tasteful pleasures!

Look out California! Here we come!


We are excited to announce our sculpture Tres Gatos III/6 Stainless Steel has been chosen to be part of the renowned El Paseo Exhibition in Palm Desert California!

El Paseo is the premier shopping street in Palm Desert California and in the Coachella Valley, located in southern California.  The exhilition space consists of eighteen lighted pads located in the median along a 1 1/2 mile stretch of prime retail.  The artwork will remain on display for two years with the installation planned for November 10th, 2016.  The El Paseo exhibition has been noted as one of the top five art destinations in the United States.

Our team has been hard at work in the Studio prepping this beauty for its voyage across the country.

What's Happening in the Studio?

A new sculpture series is under way inside the Studio.  Stop by and check out our progress from small scale to large scale!

Saatchi Art, Here We Come!

We’re thrilled to announce that some of Gilbert Boro’s works are now available for sale on Saatchi! We’ve worked hard to launch our first listings, and we couldn’t be more pleased to see sculptures from our Balls, Beams, and Curves, Tres Gatos, and Origami series on the site. We have plans to continue adding pieces to our Saatchi collection, and welcome you to browse around--perhaps you will even find the perfect piece for your home or business!

Expanding our presence on the web is just another one of the new and exciting happenings here at Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds. Our Summer Sculpture Showcase Closing Reception is right around the corner--Friday, October 23 from 5 pm to 7 pm--and we’ve been collecting entries for our Autumn Raffle all month. The faerie has been hiding all around the grounds, delighting visitors of all ages.

We’re starting to cook up plans for our next big events as well--keep up to date with our blog and social media, or subscribe to our mailing list (link in the footer of our website) to stay in the know and participate in all of the fun events going on here at the Sculpture Grounds.