“I found glass blowing to be a great marriage of my ability to work with my hands while juggling complex problem solving.”
Exploring Commonalities Among Water, Glass, and Plastic
Dylan Martinez is a glass sculptor specializing in the manipulation of this medium. As the son of a stone mason, he spent a significant portion of his formative years in the construction industry. However, he was imbued with a desire to chart his own path through life, which led him to pursue higher education. His artistic inclinations have always been influenced by nature and its intrinsic phenomena, prompting him to study the physical sciences to deepen his understanding of the world and its underlying mechanisms. During his third year of college, Dylan serendipitously discovered glass blowing, which proved to be an unparalleled form of creative expression. The unique set of skills required by glass blowing, which are not easily transferable to other artistic or craft disciplines, intrigued him. Glass blowing afforded him an opportunity to combine his dexterity with complex problem solving, and the concepts he learned during his scientific studies proved to be invaluable to his mastery of the medium. After honing his craft for several years, he experienced a resurgence of scientific curiosity that now serves as a driving force behind his artistic practice and inspiration.
Dylan is primarily recognized for his hyper-realistic series that delves into the commonalities among water, glass, and plastic. He also engages in a distinct artistic endeavor, investigating light and space and employing the optical attributes of glass as a medium. Through the deft combination of multiple glass elements, he creates captivating and innovative ways in which light is refracted and reflected. His pieces are often multifaceted and possess multiple vantage points, rendering striking displays that undergo transformations or disappearances as the observer shifts viewpoints. Additionally, he relishes experimenting with the relationship between people and objects through his installations.
Glass artist Dylan Martinez’s Idyllic Studio in the Columbia River Gorge
Dylan Martinez finds great pleasure in working in a pristine and methodical environment that provides ample natural illumination and sufficient space to navigate freely. He also values an adjacent natural expanse that allows him to engage in reflective walks or invigorating hikes, which helps him create mental space for insights to flourish. Within his workspace, he particularly enjoys having diverse tools and machinery for woodworking, metalworking, and glassworking, which empowers him to resolve creative predicaments with any material or instrument that aligns with his vision.
Recently, Dylan has settled into his latest studio, located in the idyllic environs of the Columbia River Gorge. After designing and constructing the space for two years, he now relishes its spacious hot glass studio, cold glass studio, and extensive wood and metal shops. As he nears the completion of constructing his long-awaited studio, he finds himself in need of some respite. His creative reservoirs are brimming with an abundance of imaginative concepts that he aspires to actualize, but his challenge lies in allocating the necessary time to manifest them all. Among his aspirations, he hopes to undertake more ambitious undertakings in due course.
Drawing Inspiration From Nature and Science
Dylan Martinez derives his inspiration from various sources, including his love for nature and hiking, as well as his fascination with the omnipresent beauty of science. By exploring the intricate patterns, fractals, shapes, and lighting that surround us in our daily lives, he is constantly stimulated and invigorated. Additionally, he is deeply captivated by the glass material itself, from its molten hot state to its transformation into optical crystal blocks and lenses, and he strives to approach his work with an open mind, refusing to be limited by any particular medium or process. He often gains inspiration and novel ideas through problem-solving and hands-on experimentation with different materials. Furthermore, his passion for philosophy, particularly eastern philosophies, also fuels his creativity and ignites his imagination. As he reflects on his evolution as a glass artist, he realizes that the discipline required to master this medium demands a critical examination of one’s emotional, physical, and psychological states, enabling one to identify and overcome obstacles to personal growth. These valuable insights can be applied not only to the art of glassmaking but also to other facets of life.
Upon commencing his journey in glass-making, Dylan Martinez’s primary focus was on refining and perfecting his glass blowing techniques. He dedicated countless hours to creating practical objects while delving into complex color applications under the tutelage of various esteemed glass artisans. After years of unwavering dedication, he developed a solid foundation in his skill set that allowed him to venture into previously uncharted territories of glass manipulation and creation.
From Perfecting Technique to Communicating Ideas
Dylan Martinez, during his time in graduate school, was challenged to reconsider the purpose behind his creations and was introduced to the world of capital A art. This led to a shift in his approach where he began exploring object-making as a medium of communication rather than merely decorative expression. His fascination with how the human body perceives the world led him to delve into the physiology, psychology, and philosophy of perception, highlighting the limitations of human vision, cognition, and comprehension. Dylan aims to reveal the intricate space between objectivity and subjectivity in his work in a playful manner.
As part of his artistic evolution, Dylan abstained from using color and pattern as decorative elements and instead relied solely on clear glass. Working with clear glass presented a unique challenge, encouraging him to focus on the physical properties of the material and exploit them to their fullest potential. He takes great pride in celebrating the material itself, instead of merely treating it as a canvas for decoration. It’s also worth noting that Dylan’s color blindness may have influenced this artistic direction.
Out of all his work, Dylan is most proud of his water bag series, formally titled “H2O/SiO2”. These sculptures have resonated with people from diverse cultures, ages, and backgrounds worldwide, as they find joy in the whimsy of these hyperrealistic creations.