For this week’s artist interview, I chose to focus on the fabulous glass artist, Maccabee Shelley. I was given the awesome opportunity to talk to him and look at his work closely. His work was absolutely amazing. Shelley uses empty glass bottles to create masterpieces. He then melts down the glass in a kiln to make works of art composed of layers of unique textures and colors. He seemed so excited and proud of his work which I think is awesome! He walked us through the process of creating his masterpieces and then let everyone ask him questions. It was an incredible experience to be able to pick the mind of such an intriguing artist.
I think that the reason that I was so drawn to Maccabee Shelley’s exhibit was the uniqueness. I was attracted to the several colors and textures of his work. Also, I was fascinated by the idea of his creations. The mere fact that something so heavy and solid could be made into fragile and whimsical pieces of art was amazing to me. Everything was so sparkly and shiny and colorful. I felt like I could stare at his work all day! Also, I thought it was cool to think that these works of art were once just plain beverage bottles. However, it was cool to be reminded of this fact in the art where traces of labels, barcodes, and bottle necks were visible. It just made it that much more clear that he was able to turn such a common item into something so spectacular!
Another thing that intrigued me while wandering around Shelley’s gallery was the Striking aspects of Hot pink thrown next to his art. Besides the fact that pink is his favorite color, he had other reasons for using it. He explained that to him, pink was almost neutral when paired with the glass. He said that the pink made the glass look glassier. I absolutely understand what he was saying. When this bold and bright color is juxtaposed with the fragile and lightness of the glass, his pieces pop! The pink is so different and completely “not glass.” It creates a contrast that makes his art work stand out that much more.
After staring at his work in awe, I was surprised at how simple a concept it was, yet it was so different than anything else that I had seen. It also occurred to me that working with glass was very dangerous. When he was asked about this, he made it clear that he mainly handled his work alone so to make sure no one else got hurt. He himself had been hurt by it and he also understood that it could be hazardous. He told us of how he had a physical therapist that taught him techniques for lifting. As cool as his sculptures look, they are in fact sharp and solid, heavy, glass.
Overall, It was a fabulous experience to be able to witness Maccabee Shelley’s brilliance. His intriguing and fascinating glass sculptures were beautiful and so much fun to look at. The several layers of various glasses were so cool. I liked that his sculptures were a complete surprise to him when we was making them. He had no idea how they would turn out. In the end, it was awesome to talk to him about how he found his niche. I hope that I, as an artist, will eventually find something that interests me and inspires me as much as his glass work does for him.