Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Markku Salo, Artist & Designer

Finland's own Markku Salo isn't only a glass artist but also a design visionary. One of his many public art installations is the amazing "Tuulipussi (Wind Sock)", installed in 1994 in Helsinki's Malmi House. At 39 feet long, it uses blown glass, diamond sawed, painted and installed in the metal framework.

Salo began his career as a products and graphics designer. From there, his own company opened to fabricate tableware. He graduated to larger-scale installations and from there, the sky's the limit.

An interesting technique that Salo utilizes is his use of metal mesh and wire. He had glass blown into pre-formed cages which left a permanent mesh imprint on the glass. This trademarked idea continues to be a common motif in his work.

He also likes dogs.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The 50's strike again!

This piece of art glass, fabricated about 3 years ago, is now residing in a private residence.

I'm always seeking out inspiration from my usual repetoire... design books, magazines from the 50's & 60's, films, etc. When all those images get whirled together in the blender in my brain, this is what comes out.

I learned to cut holes in the original oval pieces of reddish glass then took the pieces to a ring saw that was able to cut out the larger areas of glass in the center. Once I had created several oval "O's", I placed them all down on a white sheet of glass and full fused the whole thing together. I was very pleased with the results; a googie-like slice of time traveling heaven.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Jaw-dropping, hyperrealistic Sculptures

Ron Mueck, Jamie Salmon and Sam Jinks are sculptors. What an understatement! That's like saying Frank Lloyd Wright built homes.

Ron Mueck has been at the top of his field since he devoted himself to sculpting fine, photorealistic pieces in 1996. He began his career designing visual effects for the film Labyrinth but found his true calling using simple tools and his hands to create some of the most brilliantly realized sculptures since "David". Michelangelo often comes to mind when exploring Mueck's work; both men incorporate the technique of subtly distorting the proportions of their subjects for their desired final product.

Jamie Salmon uses real Human hair in his sculptures. These pieces are so detailed oriented, it could sometimes take months for each piece to be finished.

Australian sculptor Sam Jinks uses silicone in his hyperrealistic sculptures. He cut his teeth in the film industry before he devoted himself to his art full-time since 2004. His pieces, a bit odd & thought-provoking are designed with such loving care that each subject's expression is as honest and... well, Real.

See more at

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ron Arad, Industrial Designer

The top photo, taken as an abstract image of Arad's Design Museum in Holon, Isreal is a Guggenheim influenced building made up of two separate structures wrapped together by layered steel bands. This project was Ron Arad's first free-standing structure.

This bookcase in the other photo, entitled, "Oh, the Farmer and the Cowman Should Be Friends", is on display as part of Arad's design and architecture retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

Each section was created using stainless and corten steel and is in the shape of a continental state. Measuring 12' x 18', there is plenty of space to house your books, momentos, artifacts or other treasured objects in a totally stylish yet practical setting.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Jeremy Lepisto, Glass Artist

Jeremy Lepisto uses images, often in silouette, that convey images from a real and genuine environment. You see buildings, construction cranes, power lines and street lights just to name a few. You can virtually hear the car horns in the imaginary worlds he creates.

His different series', mostly using muted, transparent background hues, set the tone for a thought-provoking experience.

Check out his technique for various types of fused glass art. It's totally impressive that he makes complex pieces of art look incredibly easy to fabricate by his great photos.

He has served on the Board of Directors for the Glass Art Society since 2005.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Chicago's Omni Hotel

Spanning over 49' and suspended from 5 spots on the ceiling, this sculpture was my first commissioned piece for the Omni Corp.

Outsourcing the welding work that fabricated the "spine", I allowed myself the chance to concentrate on building 40 leaded glass panels for this project. 38 panels were used and 2 were built as back-up. I utilized a system that had me building only four different shapes for the glass panels. This way, I was super-efficient in my studio as I cut out the pieces of glass for the four different shapes at the same time saving my countless hours of redundancy.

Everything was placed inside an 18-wheeled truck and shipped to Chicago from Los Angeles. I flew to Chicago and assembled everything within a week with the help of my uncle, Don Linde.

The Structural Engineering firm that assisted me in this endeavor, Chicago-based Tylk/Gustafson/Reckers/Wilson/Andrews came up with a brilliant concept for attaching the steel "leaves" to the spine. Threaded rod was used as the "stem" of the leaves and they were simply twisted in place, on-site, after the initial steel spine was attached to the ceiling. Holes had been created in the spine every 18" inches so the leaves would have a consistent, uniform look within all the chaos of the shapes & colors. Attaching all the leaves literally took only an hour and a half!

It goes without saying that once this was installed and I was able to see it from Michigan Ave., I was bitten by the large-scale Art Glass Installation bug.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Hofburg statues in Vienna

Outside the Gates of the Hofburg, in Vienna, Austria, lies this spectacular sculpture.

The Hofburg is a medieval castle once home to the Hapsburg Empire and arguably the most significant secular building in Vienna.

What began as rough stone ended as the sublime. The details show incredible observation of the Human form... and the ability to re-create it using metal tools is baffling yet inspiring.

Photo by Bob Redpath

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Los Angeles Omni Hotel

These photos represent one of my larger-scale installations. Encompassing over 308 square feet of fused glass, this "Bamboo Forest" was built using 110 panels of glass that were installed on-site on the patio of NOE, the fine-dining restaurant at the Los Angeles Omni Hotel.

From the time I first heard about the project until the last glass panel was inserted inside the steel framework, a year and a half had passed. It was an engineering feat that utilized two steel contractors, a cement contractor, a transportation company, City inspectors, permit offices, a structural engineering firm, an 80' crane, street closures, a dedicated hotel staff and many, many nights of continuous glass firings in my kiln.

Wearing many hats afforded me the opportunity to really get my hands dirty and learn worlds more than I originally anticipated. It was a thrilling, gut-wrenching experience that is one of my favorite chapters in my glass-making career.

While downtown, please visit the patio, which is in a pedestrian-safe portion of California Plaza's Water Court at 251 South Olive St, Los Angeles, CA. It's a wonderful, tactile experience to see and feel the glass at any hour of the day or night.