Mighty Tanaka

Art Advising // Consultation // Curation

 

 

In Play - A Studio Visit with Zach Puchowitz

Visiting artist studios is always a special event.  To be invited into someones personal space that is dedicated to creativity and construction is like lifting the veil to another world that is seen by only a precious few.  When the artist gives you a tour of their artwork, it’s as if you are witness to an extraordinary event, seeing with your own eyes the process that one goes about putting together the objects for which they are known.  Having the opportunity to learn about an artists work straight from the source and educating yourself on the ways that an artist is able to interpret the world around them is a rare insight into the art world.

Lately, I have had the extreme fortune of visiting the glass studio of Zach Puchowitz, who is at the head of the pack of the underground functional glass sculpture art movement.  As this is a new field of art that I am beginning to merge into, I didn’t quite know what to expect.  However, crossing the threshold into Zach’s studio was certainly an eye opening experience.  

Upon my first steps into the space, I was greeted by a huge kiln with it’s lid open, almost like a monstrous beast with it’s mouth agape.  The welcoming machinery acted as an icebreaker for the amazing equipment that lay beyond.  Further into the space, my eyes didn’t know where to focus, as I was overwhelmed by more kilns, furnaces, work stations, tools and glass tubing that was all neatly arranged and organized around the circumference of the studio.  He had complete set ups for both Borosilicate glass as well as Soft glass and was eager to explain to me what the different materials were and how they relate to his process as well as their intended functionality.  Glass tubes of a myriad of colors were all neatly sorted on racks for easy access, as if they were pigments on a painters pallet.  He had a carpeted table top, full of prototypes, test subjects and assemblage pieces awaiting transfer onto larger works of art.  His workbench was massive, consisting of multiple work stations, each equipped with it's own individual kiln, fully outfitted to accommodate a number of artists.  He frequently puts all that space to good use, inviting other top glass sculptors from around the world to work along side him for collaborative art projects.  In the middle of all the space, away from the machinery and acting as an island, is a single desk where he can take a moment away from the maddness to sketch out designs before re-immersing himself back into the heat of glass blowing.

This is a space that is constantly in motion, yet operating at a flow and pace all it’s own.  Few things happen quickly in glass blowing, as each step is methodically pondered over while the pieces are “in play”, which means that the glass is at an appropriate temperature to manipulate in order to reduce the chances of stressing the material that would cause it to crack or shatter.  Zach is constantly thinking about each step well ahead of its execution, creating a list in his head that includes the next five, ten or even twenty motions that he will need to make in order to achieve his ultimate vision.  Glass blowing is an unforgiving art form and one missed step or careless movement could destroy days or even weeks worth of work, as the pieces are seldom repairable after a mishap.  

Learning about glass blowing from one of the best in the industry within his environment was an absolutely amazing experience and it opened my eyes to the complex nature of the art form.  It has provided me with a new found respect for his craft and taught me that one must be patient, critical, methodical and precise when attempting to create art from glass.  Zach Puchowitz leads by example and his studio is testament to his creative endeavors.  It’s no wonder that he is one of the top names in his genre and his artistic output is second to none.  The cleanliness and organization of his studio reflect his mental approach to his art, as he is constantly keeping all aspects of his career “in play”, plotting and building one step at a time while focusing on the bigger picture.

Birdseye view of the studio

Birdseye view of the studio

Kiln at one of the work stations 

Kiln at one of the work stations 

Another view of a work station 

Another view of a work station 

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Simplicity is Bliss, the art of Hellbent

Lace and spray paint.  Two simple, yet essential ingredients that makes Hellbent one of the most recognized Street Artists in NYC today.  Over the years, he has matured from a graffiti artist, running the streets of Brooklyn, to an established artistic fixture in the City, adorning the walls of the 5 boroughs with his trademark abstract work.  With a style that invites the viewer to dig deeper, Hellbent works in optical illusions, playing tricks on the eye with his application of color theory and drop shadows.  His rogue expressionism is a refreshing addition streets, which are otherwise littered with the typical, formulaic Street Art that has become so ubiquitous over the past few years.  

Once known primarily for his iconic mandible imagery and wood carved animal subject matter, Hellbent shifted the focus of his work from the foreground to the background.  in 2012, he bravely deconstructed all aspects of his artwork and approach and started to put the pieces back together again while experimenting with different techniques.  What grew from that creative impulse was an abstract art form that challenges the boundaries between art and design.  Through the mastering of his style and artistic interpretation, Hellbent has developed a concentrated vision that is evolving Street Art in new directions and changing the perception of the movement overall.  

Having recently completed a 500ft mural on the construction wall at Domino Sugar Factory in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Hellbent is steadily adding to his resume of amazing pieces in high profile areas around New York City.  His trajectory is sky high yet his feet are firmly planted on the ground as He maintains an even keel during this exciting time in his career.  This is a great opportunity to add a Hellbent original to your collection, as he is steadily solidifying his spot in Street Art history.  

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