Grace Totem's Eagle Commission

Updated: Jun 18, 2019

May 2016

   In Autumn 2016, my agent phoned to say would I come into Queenstown to meet a client, who wanted to see if it might be possible to commission a classic NZ native Eagle. Pauline described the client as a very good one but with a tendency to be very fussy, with maximum attention to detail. Uh ha I thought... I can handle this. The customer is king, they shall get what they want and I am their servant... was the frame of mind I put myself in as i drove down to town on the worlds most scenic drive. Grace lives at old Frankton and is not an average person in any way. She is of mixed blood and from various parts of the world like Asia and Canada. She is very exotic looking, like an an Inuit Indian, Pokahontas style, dressed immaculately and living immaculately in a designer home. Wow... this girl is fussy! Grace is an interior designer and her home is bespoken of her exquisite style with so much attention to detail that I realized that it was a MAJOR privilege to be selected as the artist to create what is the finishing touch for her entire property... a proud and powerful NZ Haast Eagle perched on a rock, directing guests to the main entrance door... a super slick Corten steel door that presents itself as a slab...no handle, no hint of it being the door except for the gaze and stance of the eagle. I came away from the meeting realizing that I had my work cut out on this job. Never before were there so many parameters in place about the size of and dimension and height of the wings and their spread so that the body of work would fit correctly into the space. Also the rock the eagle would be on had to be just so powerful and monumental and its installation into the decking was to be to the millimeter... encased in concrete and with an engineered steel rim. The pathway to producing this work took 6 months. During this time I got to know Grace and we became close friends in that neat way where by each discovers a whole lot more about the other so that like a magnet there is a bond of respect and admiration for the other. The job did not rush but was fitted around other things going on and there was time for stuff to roll out and for things to be done succinctly. I got to be shown around inside her home. It is stunning slick minimalism. When she explained unseen things about microscopic details and showed me these I knew I would like to work with her or for her again sometime. It was kind of like bering on Thunderbirds Island, in that super slick abode, home to the Tracys. Grace said she had waited a long time, thinking about what would be the finishing piece for the entranceway. No matter how hard she tried to look broadly at other works, she kept coming back to realizing she wanted a NZ Eagle... rustic style, creature, mother substantial bird of this land.


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