WGS Featured Artist: Joseph Ivacic

CLICK IT! Featured Artist: Joseph Ivacic

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Joseph Ivacic is a Chicago based glass artist. Since receiving his BFA from the University of Illinois at Champaign, Urban, he has been showing in group and solo shows throughout the country. Joseph’s work challenges the viewer to see things differently, both from a subject and content point of view, as well as the fact that, while his work is made from glass, it certainly doesn’t look like traditional glass.  

Joseph started using the moniker PARADIGM SHIFT to experiment with different themes in his art. “The narratives of these pieces are inspired by contemporary life, inviting the viewers to place themselves within the work.  My compositions of faux installations are filled with text and imagery providing the viewer with subtle hints that the work is not what they perceive.  Our modern day truths are what we say they are and our sense of reality is skewed based on our perspective.”

In 2018, Ferd Hampson of Habatat Galleries declared Joseph to be a “Top Ten Trend in Contemporary Glass” for his recent street inspired work – where all elements are glass, including the labels on the cans.  

Washington Glass School blog catches up with Joseph as his work is part of the WGS Contemporary online exhibit “CLICK-IT!” and also in the “Artists For Racial Justice” exhibit/fundraiser.

Washington Glass School (WGS): Describe your artwork method/process.

Joseph Ivacic: I am a contemporary sculptor who uses glass as my primary medium. I combine a variety of techniques to create my groupings. The spray paint cans are blown and hot sculpted in the hot shop. Labels that are on the cans are Ceramic Decals and are applied to the glass cylinder prior to it being assembled hot. The elements that appear to be steel are created a by sifting powdered glass on to sheets of glass and then are slumped and fused at temperatures as high as 1450 degrees.

Joseph Ivacic, "Summit"; Glass; 12"x6"x4"

Joseph Ivacic, “Summit”; Glass; 12″x6″x4″

WGS: Describe your work in the show and highlight aspects that the viewers should understand about the work.

Joseph Ivacic: My work in these two shows vary and I am excited about both. The smaller pieces with the spray paint cans and the faux steel are continuations of my larger installations but are intended for newer collectors, people with small niches, or would like to own my work but it doesn’t work with there budget. This body of work is loaded with content and some of the topics are urban decay and the beauty in aging. I don’t want to share too much about the pieces because I want the viewer to come up with their own conclusion.

Joseph Ivacic, "Echoes", Glass, wood, 14"x15"x29", 2020. Featured in WGS Contemporary "Artists For Racial Justice" exhibit.

Joseph Ivacic, “Echoes”, Glass, wood, 14″x15″x29″, 2020. Featured in WGS Contemporary “Artists For Racial Justice” exhibit.

The piece in the Social Justice show titled “Echoes” is a narrative piece about protest and the long term benefits of standing up for your rights and beliefs. The Megaphone is made of glass and is assembled hot. The soap box is intended to look like a found object but I made that as well.

WGS: How have you handled the COVID-19 lockdown? How have you adapted?

Joseph Ivacic: The Covid lockdown has been tough. I really miss social interaction and engaging through a screen is not the same. I usually work at a public access glass studio for my blowing needs which has not been open to the public since the middle of march. During all of this craziness my family has also moved houses and I have moved studios. I am excited about my new studio, but it still has a long way to go before its operational. My creative outlets have been painting a working digitally on a tablet. I will be incorporating these new techniques in to the new pieces I am working on. As a glass artist, I feel we always need to adapt our vision with the properties of the material. As we evolve our relationship with glass, we understand what rules we can bend and what rules we can break.joeseph.ivacic.my.illusion.part.2.glass.art.sculpture.new.contemporary

WGS: What artwork/event has moved you and got you thinking about your own work?

Joseph Ivacic: During this time, I have been most moved by the social equality movement around the Black Lives Matter. I have spent a lot of time researching and trying to understand how be a better human and how to communicate this through my work. I think in the next year we are going to see a lot of art with this as the subject matter. 

Joseph Ivacic checks out the street art as the street art checks out Joe.

Joseph Ivacic checks out the street art as the street art checks out Joe.

WGS: if you were not an artist – what would you be?

Joseph Ivacic: I have a background in teaching and would probably work with high school students. I don’t know if it’s possible for me not to be an artist. 

WGS: Do you do a lot of planning in your work – or is there an element of chance while working?

Joseph Ivacic: YES! My work requires tons of planning. I usually start with message and move to imagery from there. At that point in need to figure out scale and how to break the piece up into shippable pieces. Each of my panels needs to be fired at a minimum of 3 times and usually if something is going to break it will happen on the 3rd firing. Also anytime I want to incorporate a new color I need to do a sample with every other color I use to make sure that the new color expands and contracts at the same rate as the other colors. If the new color doesn’t the entire piece breaks.

Joseph Ivacic, "Propoganda Spray Can" 24"H; glass. The cans of spray paint draw parallels, positive and negative, between spray paint as art and as one of the oldest forms of social communication while layers of vibrant colors and text provoke further examination of the subtle details.

Joseph Ivacic, “Propoganda Spray Can” 24″H; glass. The cans of spray paint draw parallels, positive and negative, between spray paint as art and as one of the oldest forms of social communication while layers of vibrant colors and text provoke further examination of the subtle details.

WGS: What is your rule of thumb in determining when a work is finished?

Joseph Ivacic: The rule of thumb on when the piece is finished… The piece is usually finished 2 days before the due date. :)

Joseph Ivacic at work in the hotshop.

Joseph Ivacic at work in the hotshop.

Click HERE to jump to Joseph Ivacic’s work in CLICK-IT!

 

Click Here to jump to the Artists For Racial Justice exhibit.

WGS Featured Artist: Erwin Timmers

CLICK IT! Featured Artist: Erwin Timmers

Erwin Timmers is the co-founder of the Washington Glass Studio and Washington Glass School. Originally from Amsterdam, he moved to California and graduated from Santa Monica College for Design Arts and Architecture. In 1999 he moved to the Washington DC area and since then his sculptural artwork has been on display in Zenith Gallery, Fraser Gallery, and Gallery Neptune. Erwin was named the Montgomery County, MD Executive’s Award Outstanding Artist of the Year in 2018.

His approach to art is multifaceted, incorporating metalwork, innovative lighting and glass design. He teaches glass, lighting, sculpture, and metal work. Industrial salvage and recycling are recurring themes in his work, which he sees as crucial parts to the interaction with one’s surroundings. Recently, the Artisan 4100 - an apartment community opening along Route 1 in Brentwood, MD – commissioned Erwin Timmers to create a major glass and light installation for the new building lobby.

Artist Erwin Timmers installs Artisan 4100 Building artwork commission.

Artist Erwin Timmers installs Artisan 4100 Building artwork commission.

Washington Glass School blog catches up with Erwin as his work is part of the WGS Contemporary online exhibit “CLICK-IT!”.

Washington Glass School (WGS): Describe your artwork method/process.
Erwin Timmers: I cast objects in recycled glass. For this series I have used discarded packaging material, from which I take molds in plaster. The glass then heats up in an electric kiln, melts and takes on the shape of this mold. To finish I chop, and trim the glass and weld the metal frame.

Erwin Timmers, "Patterns of Containment V" cast recycled glass

Erwin Timmers, “Patterns of Containment V” cast recycled glass

WGS: Describe your work in the show and highlight aspects that the viewers should understand about the work.

Erwin Timmers: The work features single-use plastic wrappings that viewers may recognize. The grid format formalizes the display of “trash” as art and then I use grids within each frame as well. I hope to give viewers a moment of pause while contemplating the shapes and patterns.

Erwin Timmer: detail "Patterns of Containment"

Erwin Timmer: detail “Patterns of Containment”

WGS: How have you handled the Covid lockdown?

Erwin Timmers: Initially COVID was like snow days we hadn’t had, but with great weather. That was before any financial pressure came into play. It was motivating to see the air pollution worldwide go down, I wish it could stay like that. But at the same time the single use plastic pollution is increasing, giving me even more art base materials…

WGS: What artwork/event has moved you and got you thinking about your own work?
Erwin Timmers: The current civil crisis has been deeply moving. It caused me to rethink and redevelop the direction of my hands symbol series.

WGS: if you were not an artist – what would you be?
Erwin Timmers: Epidemiologist 

Erwin Timmers suits up in his PPE gear to work in the studio.

Erwin Timmers suits up in his PPE gear to work in the studio. Or tend the studio bee-hives.

WGS: Do you do a lot of planning in your work – or is there an element of chance while working?
Erwin Timmers: I plan the general idea, but often new ideas and aspects emerge as I work. I try to incorporate these, and I can then evaluate whether they work or not.

WGS: What is your rule of thumb in determining when a work is finished?
Erwin Timmers: When I sign it, it is done…

Click here to jump to Erwin Timmers work in CLICK-IT!
Erwin’s work is part of the companion exhibit/fundraiser – “Artists for Racial Justice” Click HERE to jump to the show.

WGS Featured Artist : Jennifer Caldwell

CLICK IT! Featured Artist: Jennifer Caldwell

Jennifer Caldwell

Jennifer Caldwell

Jennifer Caldwell is internationally renowned for sculpting borosilicate glass using a torch. Humor, whimsy and imagination are a cathartic aspect of Jennifer’s studio practice that allows her to address more serious emotions from a place of playfulness. Objects from her experience become beautiful, yet un-functional, or are combined in a way to see the paradoxes through which Jennifer views the world. 
Since 2012, Jennifer Caldwell and Jason Chakravarty have worked collaboratively, and formed JC Squared. Their works have been exhibited in museums including Corning Museum of Glass and Tacoma Museum of Glass, at SOFA Chicago.

Jason Chakravarty and  Jennifer Caldwell

Jason Chakravarty and Jennifer Caldwell

Washington Glass School blog catches up with Jennifer as her work is part of the WGS Contemporary online exhibit “CLICK-IT!” and the associated show “Artists for Racial Justice”.

Washington Glass School (WGS): Describe your artwork method/process.
Jennifer Caldwell: We use several processes to complete a single piece. For example, a porthole begins by taking a replica mold of a real object. A wax is then poured into the replica mold the wax is then cleaned up and altered to suite each piece. A custom mixed refractory investment is then poured over the wax, the wax is removed by using steamed leaving a hollow cavity. The investment mold is then brought up to 1500′ where then hot glass is melted into it. Following a extensive cooling process the investment mold is removed from the glass. Finally, the glass is cut, ground and polished. The life form portion of the piece is sculpted using specific tools and solid glass rods in a 3000′ flame with a oxygen propane torch.

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WGS: Describe your work in the show and highlight aspects that the viewers should understand about the work.
Jennifer Caldwell: I really love “Catch and Release” the fence is Flameworked and the lock is cast. We are very fortunate to have our work/teaching take us all over the world. When we are somewhere new and we discover objects that form memories we put them in our work. The lock we found at the old city in Jerusalem. We had been exploring the city that day and stumbled into a shop after a few minutes of haggling it was ours. We brought it home made a silicone mold of it and now it becomes part of our vocabulary with the other molds we’ve taken. It holds a memory that’s unique to us but also can convey its own message with just being the object it is.

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WGS: How have you handled the Covid lockdown?
Jennifer Caldwell: Honestly the technical part has not affected us as much as I thought it would. The hotshop we use has been shut down so we’ve had to think in different processes. However we get most our inspiration from everyday life and travels which have both slowed way down. I think we’ve had to reflect more internally.

WGS: What artwork/event has moved you and got you thinking about your own work?
Jennifer Caldwell: ”Beyond the Streets” in Brooklyn last summer. It was a great exhibit that just showed how time and evolution and responses from what was happening in that moment showed told a collective story of the evolution of street art.

WGS: if you were not an artist – what would you be?
Jennifer Caldwell: I have no idea, but I feel it would need some sort of creative aspect to it.

WGS: Do you do a lot of planning in your work – or is there an element of chance while working?
Jennifer Caldwell: We start out with a plan. We need to because we are mixing so many processes however the piece will start to change and adapt to what happens along the way.

WGS: What is your rule of thumb in determining when a work is finished?
Jennifer Caldwell: When it starts to make me anxious and gets too busy…less is more!

Click here to jump to Jennifer’s work in CLICK-IT!

Click HERE to jump to Jennifer’s work in “Artists for Racial Justice” fundraiser.

Read about Jason Chakravarty – the other half of JC click HERE