Jean Robillard was originally commissioned by TAG to produce the bronze bust in 2000. Jean hails from Quebec in Canada and was suggested to TAG by a fellow Canadian. Jean agreed to provide all the labour free-of-charge provided his expenses were met and he was able to attend an Official Unveiling Ceremony in London in 2002. It was intended at that time that the bust would be installed at the Tree Site in Barnes, London.
Later in 2000 the Bust Project removed from TAG by other parties who later admitted they had "Ousted TAG from the Project".
These new parties intended to complete the project for the bust's instillation at Golders Green Crematorium for the 25th anniversary in 2002.
For 18 months these 'other parties' fund raised and announced the project on their own web sites and Email lists.
In March 2002, with only six months to go to this unveiling, Jean had completed the wooden sculpture and had received praise for the quality his work. Then he was told by the other parties that the Bust Project was cancelled because fund raising had not gone well.
It was suggested to him that he sell the original wooden sculpture on eBay to reclaim some of the money back he had spent out of his own pocket on the bust.
Fortunately for all concerned TAG was re-connected with Jean and agreed to complete the Project and honour in full the original agreement TAG had made with Jean.
At this point there was just six months until Marc Bolan's 25th Anniversary which proved to be six months of frantic work and cross-Atlantic communications to turn the wooden sculpture into a Bronze and to ship it safely to the UK from Quebec. Below you can see the wooden sculpture as it takes shape, the wax test moulding before the bronze could be cast.
Meanwhile in England, TAG set about discussing the Bust's location with the residents, applying for planning permission, ordering the plinth, arranging the unveiling, organising hotel accommodation for Jean and his wife, arranging for a suitable post-unveiling reception venue. This reception was made possible due to the liaisons between TAG and the Quebec Cultural Attaché to Great Britain.
Timing was tight but as you all know – we did it! Marc Bolan is one of only a handful of Rock Stars to be immortalised in Bronze.
The original bust was carved in wood. The images below show it taking shape.Jean donated the five hundred hours of work time needed to complete the sculpture.
As per his agreement Jean had completed the sculpture doing all the work free-of-charge. Many months passed after this that Jean was told the project to have it cast in Bronze and unveiled at Golders Green Creatorium for the twenty fiffth anniversary had been cancelled by the organisers in the UK because having eighteen months fund raising had not gone "as well as expected" and they could not afford to continue. Although people gave money for the Bronze Bust Project, and Jean had been promised his expenses no money was ever forthcoming.
This is when TAG were contacted and put in touch with the sculptor, allowing the project to be completed.
A mould was made from the original wooden sculpture. But before casting in bronze takes place a test wax casting is made using brown wax to give an idea of what the finished bronze will look like. The wax casting is used to check that the mould has been made properly and that there were no air pockets trapped when the mould was made.
Below - TAG Founder & Secretary (as well as being the co-ordinator of the whole Bronze Bust Project) with the Bronze & the Original Sculpture.