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Monday, February 2, 2009

What is Art?

This morning I awoke with the age old question in my head. Based on a lengthy conversation with my daughter Shasta, the art student, working on her final projects for her BFA in painting, and being schooled by professional artists showing in the Chelsea district in NYC, she spared me nothing. After viewing my computer generated rough design, she really wanted me to think a lot about color, design, and INTENT! Now that last word holds the key between the decorative and art. As a glass maker (crafter...fabricator...artist) we as a group have mostly held the job to please clients with a vision of something beautiful and meaningful TO THEM!

But I am embarking (in my spare time between custom work and saleable pretty shop pieces) on using the media in a different way - to express something: personal - with good balance and movement, using color to express importance, flow and focus. Art just being something pretty and aesthetically pleasing is not the bottom line. I went on-line to some galleries in Chelsea and saw that the "artist statement" is an important and integral part of each artist's collection. Then I went on-line to see what my fellow flat glass "artists" were doing and presenting. As a group, we are not recognised as artists in the art scene, except for a few whose works are shown at galleries that specialize in glass art, such as Hawk Galleries in Columbus, Ohio, where my family had the chance opportunity to see a Dale Chihuly Show . Maybe it is partly because we mix art with craft to pay the bills. Paul Stankard is recognized for his amazing finely detailed paper weights, and also owns a studio in South Jersey where he and his daughters make limited editions. There are definitely glass artists in hot glass , but even Chihuly does art that is "decorative" such as the "chandeliers". The American Glass movement is still evolving as art.

The sketch above is about transformation. The face is now painted with 5 cut pieces. It represents reinvention and the mirror is not reflection but rather seeing yourself in a different way. It is obviously inspired by (1) the classic Picasso, (2) a tiny hand mirror I did in the '8Os, and (3) the outside shape from the S curves in my brain merging with the shape of a wall mirror in the Marlton, NJ Starbucks. Let's see where it goes completed.

The 10 works that I have commited myself to make are likely to show an evolution in style from the first to the last, and will be hindered by the speed in which they will be done, my newness to warm glass techniques, and my newness in thinking like

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