If you’re the owner of any blown glass artwork, or ever even stopped to watch a glass blowing demonstration, then you have Dale Chihuly to partially thank for that. His unique glass artwork first started in the 1960s has been a big contributor to the revitalization of the use of glass in the art world. Here is a brief overview of the impact that Chihuly has had on the industry over the years.
The Artistic Academic
Unlike a lot of other prominent artists from the 19th and 20th centuries, Dale Chihuly pursued an extensive formal education, with most of his majors being artistic in nature. He developed a passion for glass work early on, and it actually earned him the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation grant in 1968. Chihuly has since toured the world in both a teacher and student role, always focusing on the world of glass.
Becoming a Teacher
Chihuly’s actual career as a glass blower was significantly affected in the late ’70s due to a series of accidents which resulted in him being permanently blinded in his left eye and having his right shoulder dislocated. This forced Chihuly to step into a teaching role instead of an artistic role, which he found to be a good fit for him. As a teacher, Chihuly has led teams of artists in creating his and their artistic visions.
Great Glass Works
The creations brought to us by Chihuly and his team can be seen in many auction galleries in Dania Beach and all over the world. It is reported that as of 2004 the total sales of these artworks had brought in over $29 million.
Over the past 60 years, Chihuly’s artwork has birthed many significant pieces that challenged the art world’s view on the line between crafts and art. One of these pieces is the 1975 “Navajo Blanket Series” which included Navajo blanket patterns painted onto sheets of glass.
His later works involved the transformation of glass into unique and unusual shapes. A great example of this is his famous “Chandeliers” series that started in 1992. Some of the entries in this series featured glass blown into the shape of flowers, snakes, and other intricate items.
Chihuly’s work, especially his later stuff, is instantly recognizable due to the vivid colors used and often elaborate displays of glass forms. His work is even responsible for setting world records, with his 2000 Jerusalem exhibition holding the record for most visitors to a temporary artwork display. These accolades have made Chihuly a household name in the art world, and have helped challenge the art community’s view on the importance of glass work.