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Artist's Comments


Diane Maclean was keen to respond to the invitation for proposals from Independent Public Arts because the Scottishness of the project appealed to her own roots on the Black Isle near Inverness. The openness of the brief would allow her to work with few constraints and on a theme of interest to her and to develop new strands in the techniques and media she was using. She had already been using fibre optics and was keen to explore the use of sound and language in her work for the first time.

Diane already had a strong record of major public art commissions, but had begun to feel the restrictions which surround most commissions in public indoor and urban situations in terms of dimensions and stringent Health and Safety requirements. She had already begun developing work which has low maintenance requirements and viewed with enthusiasm the prospect of working outside the gallery within the contours of the Highland landscape. The fabrication and maintenance requirements for such a setting held few surprises or terrors and she was aware that she would need meet Health and Safety regulations for a publicly sited work in this setting too.

Positive Benefits

The artist reports an overwhelmingly positive experience of the project. She gained enormous professional stimulus and personal pleasure from working with her collaborators and she found the challenge of negotiating the installation of very contemporary work in isolated Highland communities challenging and rewarding. She has subsequently used sound in other works.


She mentions two problems with the project. Whilst the budget she agreed with IPA was properly estimated and sufficient to cover the costs, she had problems matching the timing of her expenditure to the cash flow forecast she was asked to follow. She did negotiate that IPA should pay directly some of the larger invoices, but nonetheless, she also found she was carrying substantial expenditure herself until release of the next tranche of funding. This is a common problem with Lottery funded projects where funding can be slow to be released. Diane was also ask to take a role in the tourism dimension of the project, both by making contact with tourism bodies and by estimating the number of visitors who might be expected to see the work, for reports to funding bodies. She felt that this was not within her range of knowledge and expertise.

Time Input

The Legend project took a significant amount of the artist’s time for the year in which the work was being developed, fabricated and then toured between February and October. Within the budget of £17,000 (trimmed from her original £22,000 estimate) she included costs for materials, fabrication, installation, transport and fees for the other artists, with a modest fee and travel and accommodation expenses, together totalling approximately 15%. This latter sum covered her out of pocket expenses whilst working away from home on the project, but did not cover her time input. She did not budget for a larger fee as she felt that she would not be able to do what she wanted to within the sum available.

Artist’s Fee

This was an artist led project and the budget and how it was allocated was within the control of the artist. Diane said she was very keen to do the project, both because of her commitment to the idea and her wish to work consistently in Scotland whilst living in the south of England. She therefore made a conscious decision effectively to subsidise her own involvement in this project from income from other work, and was happy to do so. It is worth pointing out that as a successful artist, she is in a position to manage her working life and practice in this way, and that other younger, less established artists might not have flexibility to take on a project of this scope for this fee level.

© Copyright Joanna Morland 2000