Conversation with Laura Bender of Site Painters Studio

Conversation with Laura Bender of Site Painters Studio

Laura Bender of Site Painters recently completed this motion-filled work on commission for a client of Pero Design. We spoke to Laura about her process and insight on the commission process.

How do you begin/prefer to begin the process of a commission?

I’ve been doing commissioned work for a number of years. I first meet with the client, consultant or interior designer and we discuss the theme and what they are looking for. Recently, for Chris Pero, we explored figurative work for a project. Both my abstract and figurative work is often based on painted paper collages. Ultimately its directed by the client. For instance, a hospital might want something playful for pediatrics, while a restaurant might want something more sophisticated. My work (with my husband, John Early) is often described as lively and fresh, so people seek us out for those qualities. The color palate can be adjusted by the client; I try not to duplicate their exact colors but to enrich the color experience.

What is your process for reviews and revisions?

Of course clients like to see where the project is going. With our experience and close listening to the client we are usually able to nail it with only minor tweaks. Our portfolio helps the client see our range and our drawings and mock ups are clear and descriptive. 

Do you prefer to paint directly to surface or on a mobile medium?

I like working on a hard surface, usually stable wood panels — even in the studio we tend to do hard surfaces.

How easy is it to hear and apply the feedback of non-artists on a commissioned work?

Once again, a client comes to us because they already like the style. Requests for changes are usually easy to fulfill. Working with Chris on this recent project has been great. The work develops especially smoothly with a sensitive consultant or interior designer on a project. They can keep everyone in touch and on the same page with project timeline, expectations and budget. Whether through a consultant or directly with the client, communication makes all the difference in a successful experience for everyone.

What was your most exciting success this past year?

We got to do a really interesting body of work for Dallas Children’s Hospital. The installation included murals for the lobbies and the treatment rooms. We also did cut-out panels of animals. The murals started as collages done in our studio , scanned, and enlarged four times the size of the original and printed on acrylic panels in Texas.. It was an elaborate project, and very fulfilling and well facilitated by a local art consultant.

How has your work changed in the past 5 years, 10 years?

We used to do a lot more on-site work directly on the walls. I’m not sure if it’s the market or us presenting installable options. Most projects can’t schedule much on site painting time. Also I feel we are now more fully able to integrate all of our strengths as artists into our designs.

Chris Pero