Richard Glenn never expected to become an award-winning artist. “I was the proverbial child who could not color within the lines, so I was steered away from the visual arts,” he says. Glenn, 46, studied journalism at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Tex., and worked in advertising and public relations, ending up in Seattle, where a visit to the Pilchuck Glass School in 1990 transformed his career. “It had never crossed my mind to make glass, but I learned that there were many disciplines in glass art other than glass blowing,” he says. “That visit was life-changing; I spent the 1990s taking classes to learn the craft of working with glass.”
Three years ago, Glenn moved to Portland for its glass-art community. “Portland is the center for kiln-formed glass art,” he says. “Two of the primary manufacturers of the raw materials are here, so a number of artists have set up shop, done residencies or taught at the factories. There’s always a tide of famous kiln-formed glass artists coming through.”
Shoe Frenzy (right), like much of Glenn’s work, incorporates images from popular culture. “I spent months going through fashion magazines and tearing out pictures of shoes,” he says. He scanned the pictures, turned them into black-and-white images and printed them onto clear sheets of vinyl, which were put through a photo-resist process and sandblasted before being fused between glass. “I like how glass behaves when it’s heated—and all the things I can do to impact its outcome,” he says. The 18-inch by 18-inch Shoe Frenzy costs $750.
Contact Richard Glenn via his website at relicsofglass.com. His work can also be seen at Brian Marki Fine Art (2236 N.E. Broadway, 503-249-5659) in Portland.