About Our Custom Commission Sculpture in Kensington, CA Service
Proclamation Sculpture Studios proclaims to the world inspirational people, significant events and high ideals with our custom commission sculpture in Kensington, CA. We aim to inspire people to lead a positive life—to help raise thoughts and goals above the daily horizon. For each of the many major public monuments our team members have created over the years, all have been preceded by extensive research, and then infused with the subject’s unique psychological depth and individual character, activity and significance--all with high aesthetics. Our sculptures are accurate; they are informative embodiments of the essence of the person, people, ideals and events.
Our team members have long track records of researching, designing, winning, creating, managing, delivering, and documenting major public monuments, including bronze sculpture commissions Kensington, CA. We have extensive experience with large and small commissions, including with federal, state, city, and private sponsors across North America.
Quality of Sculpting
Team Capabilities and Reliability: Rob Firmin & Dale Smith
Rob Firmin sculpts, conducts historical research, concept development, production, and project management. Dale Smith has decades of experience as a figurative sculptor and in all aspects of bronze foundries, including as chief executive. Many commission committees have learned more about their subjects from us than they knew previously.
Rob’s University of Chicago doctorate in demography and Columbia MBA, and double majors in art history and history, plus executive responsibilities for 30 years in high technology, including as an entrepreneur-CEO, and large number of successful projects in public art and technology, significantly reduces project uncertainty. In addition to winning commissions, Dr. Firmin won an award from the National Civic Art Society for his design for the Dwight Eisenhower Memorial in Washington in 2011.
Dale’s figurative work ranges from 10-foot figures and life-size portraits to tabletop artworks. His portraits include several of famous people. Dale’s broad sculpture experience is also both aesthetic and practical. Having built small foundries from scratch and run two large ones, he is an invaluable resource on all production issues.
Understand the Community
We always work closely with the communities relevant to the subject to gain a special understanding of its aspirations and perspectives, before the design is created. (In one case a statistically valid survey was conducted because that information was appropriate to the project.) We interview community members, family, associates, experts, museum curators, etc. We collaborate easily with all parties associated with the project. We document our projects for our sponsor’s archives.
Professional Project Management
All projects are conducted with state-of-the-art project management (PM). Dr. Firmin has created over 50 significant projects in sculpture, technology-product development and company formation, and has published peer-reviewed theoretical advances in PM (for the semiconductor industry). We remain in open communication with sponsoring committees throughout each project. Our maintenance guidelines were developed in conjunction with the nation’s leading patina authority. All of these factors ensure the highest quality results: on time and within budget.
Proclamation has two studios: one in Kensington, California and one in Pacific Grove, CA. The office is in Kensington.
In addition to hands-on art creation, Rob works on concepts, composition, research, model building, and project management. His career and education have ranged across: realist-figurative sculpture, the formal study of history and art history, to the invention of project management techniques, financial risk reduction, dynamic process control, modeling techniques, and software concepts and design. He has founded and run a few companies around these ideas, the best known being internationally award-winning Javelin Software Corporation (Chairman & CEO), and has managed numerous complex projects—in both public art and high tech. These quantitative and managerial capabilities come into play many times during our public-art projects.
Rob has composed and/or sculpted 40 major public-art works (counting individual figures). The majority have been in collaboration with Eugene Daub, with whom he had the firm Daub & Firmin Studios, LLC, plus collaborations with his partner Dale Smith in model building and production. In addition to sculpting, he performs our computations and designs for artwork dimensions, production, architectural features, and installations (e.g., custom gantries). Sculpture mentors include, in chronological order: Tebby George (figure, portrait); Carol Tarzier (figure, portrait); Thomas Marsh (portrait, sculpture aesthetics); Stephen Perkins (anatomy, figure); Bill Farnan (relief); Eugene Daub (figure, monumental figure, portrait, relief, and medals); and various drawing instructors. Rob learned much from all, and the most from Eugene Daub.
Rob’s individual sculptures include portraits, figures and reliefs, including his own commissions. He is currently in process on a full-figure public-art portrait of the California architect Julia Morgan, and of Knud Bjarkov, a hero of the Danish Resistance of WW II. He is an Associate Member of the National Sculpture Society.
Memorial Designs & the Eisenhower Memorial
Rob’s design for the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial in Washington DC won an award in the National Civic Art Society’s competition this year, and is the favorite of the committee’s chairman (its only architect). He also designed the plan for the 2-acre Oklahoma Freedom for All Memorial, and the composition for the Abraham Lincoln monument in Kentucky. He folds his research and historical perspective into composition design.
Bronze & Wax Proportions Database
Bronze castings do not retain exactly the same proportions as the original sculpture when it is molded. Rob has carefully measured our originals and our finished bronzes to discover the degrees to which different kinds of features shrink disproportionately. Our team’s data on disproportionate shrinkage and how to correct for it is unique to sculpture, to the best of our knowledge.
The American War-Dead Database
In addition, Rob has created the first database, as far as we know, of nearly all-known American war dead from the beginning of the Revolutionary War to the present.
Research & Education
Rob’s research techniques were developed during the study of historiography, history and art history in his double majors, with honors, at Denison University in Granville, Ohio, and were expanded into quantitative arenas with a Ph.D. in demography at the University of Chicago. All of our projects are initiated with extensive research. For example, the Jefferson monument consumed three months/seven days per week before the proposal was created.
Project Management, Financial Planning & General Management Experience
The most important single responsibility during sculpture projects is to maintain clear communication with all parties, using organized information. Project experience is critical when assuming responsibility for the large sums invested in public-art projects. Project management, financial planning and senior business experience eliminate many of the uncertainties commonly associated with complex projects.
Rob’s 40 years of experience in virtually all forms of management, includes approximately 50 significant projects in sculpture, technology-product development and company formation. His MBA from Columbia University helps provide techniques and financial-theory background which are useful for professional management of public-art projects. He has extensive experience working with planners, architects, contractors, and suppliers on our projects.
Rob’s project management experience originated in the high-tech sector at Prime Computer in Massachusetts, where he was head of Financial Planning & Analysis. Projects involved planning the construction of factories, forecasting the hiring of thousands of employees, forecasting demand for products, and timing all of the critical elements required to drive an emerging Fortune 500 company forward. Subsequent experience includes founding Javelin Software Corporation, and running it throughout its eight-year existence. These experiences are brought to bear on our art projects.
“Thomas Jefferson’s Survey of the University of Virginia,” National Museum of Surveying: Turning the Horizon, vol.6, issue 1, 2007, and reprinted in the Old Dominion Surveyor. Seven published, peer-reviewed quantitative research papers about a new concept Rob developed: the probabilistic critical path, including two measures to help projects track and forecast project outcomes using that concept; and predictive statistical process control. These methods now support sculpture project management.
Dale Smith is a self-taught sculptor and art-bronze foundry expert with over 35 years of experience.
Dale grew up on a farm in Alberta Canada. His regular farm duties included driving cattle between pasture and corral on horseback, and branding and dehorning. Rodeo was an integral and important activity to the local small town of Cardston. His father was a rodeo cowboy in his twenties—an active participant in bareback bronco and wild horse racing.
Dale’s commissioned works of historical cowboys include a portrait of rodeo champion and rodeo-device inventor Earl Bascom, who was Dale’s grandfather’s cousin. The other of Dale’s cowboy sculptures is of Don Remington, who founded the Don Remington Carriage Museum where the 10-foot sculpture is installed in front of the museum.
Other sculptures include: a larger than life figure bronze of St. Albert the Great at the Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, California; portrait busts of Mike Rowe (of Dirty Jobs fame); actress and producer Malou Nubla; and Mikhail Gorbachev; among others.
Dale has decades of deep experience as a foundryman, including as former President of the renowned Artworks Foundry that attracts sculptors from across the U.S. and around the world for its excellence in bronze mold making, casting, finishing, patinas, and installations. Many of Rob’s works were produced at Artworks when Dale was President; the two worked together closely, creating the trust and respect that led them to form Proclamation Sculpture Studios.