Preston Singletary is au contraire – using glass instead the traditional wood to create traditional Northwest Coast art masterpieces.
“I sometimes hope that people will view my work on other levels not associated with ‘ethnic art.’ At the same time, it is this inspiration that gives my work its power. I see my work as an extension of tradition and a declaration that Native cultures are alive and developing new technologies and new ways of communicating the ancient codes and symbols of this land.”
He started off – heavily influenced by contemporary glass artists.
But it changed – using glass to explore traditional Tlingit themes – clan crests and killer whales using red, blue, black and green colours.
Singletary grew up in the Seattle area. For a while he worked as a night watchman at a Seattle glass-blowing studio, eventually leading to being part of the studio’s production team.
He ended up studying at the legendary Pilchuck Glass School in Stanwood, Washington, created by one of the world’s top glass artists, Dale Chihuly.
Singletary has collaborated with other Native American, Maori, Hawaiian, and Australian Aboriginal artists.
“My work with glass transforms the notion that Native artists are only best when traditional materials are used. It has helped advocate on the behalf of all indigenous people—affirming that we are still here—that that we are declaring who we are through our art in connection to our culture.”
His work is in the collections of the Corning Museum of Glass, the Heard Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, the British Museum, the Smithsonian Institution, and Seattle Art Museum.
Preston Singletary – a tour de force in Northwest Coast Art circles.