Dylan Martinez, glass sculptor from Hudson, United States. Photography © Lasting Light
1.Tell us what you do and your beginnings.
I am mostly a sculptor working with hot and cold glass. I am continually fascinated by the endless ways you can use and manipulate glass and it’s incredible optical properties. I primarily create sculptural work, both in the hot glass studio and in the cold studio, that focuses on hyper-realism or dynamic optical creations.
I come from a very blue collar background and the arts weren’t ever a consideration. I did not grow up in or around a creative art community, but I did grow up working with my hands, helping my dad with his projects as a stonemason every summer.
It was during this time that I learned the value of quality craftsmanship. My journey into glass was unexpected. When I got to college, I pursued a degree in science, something I am also very interested in.
During that time I took an elective glass blowing class because I was curious to give it a try. I quickly discovered that this medium really combined my interest in science and my passion for creating. It’s been 13 years since that first class, I still look forward to the possibilities and challenges with this material every day in the studio.
2.What are your favorite museums in the world? Why?
Since I have been a little late to the party, I’d like to get to more international museums, but so far one of my favorites has been Tate Modern. I enjoy that they feature contemporary exhibitions as well as artwork from the last 100 years.
3.How important are social networks in your business? And which platform do you prefer and why.
Social networks have become a primary way of connecting these days and it’s helped me reach a wide audience. I have found Instagram to be my main platform, I like that it focuses on images and videos.
This platform seems to be more geared towards artists and creators and it’s a great way to create a kind of “live” portfolio for people to see your work and progress, and maybe even see some behind the scenes of what you do. It has allowed me to gain international exposure and clients.
4.What are your future projects?
I plan to continue exploring both my optical sculptures and my hyper realistic sculptures. I’ve just released hyper realistic water bottles, which have been a fun spin off project from my water bag sculptures H2O/SiO2 . I’m also really eager to step up the scale of my work and start creating larger interactive installations.
5.To create greater engagement among museums, artists and professionals, do you have any advice for cultural projects such as #MuseumWeek?
I think with all the challenges that covid-19 has brought this year, we’re feeling more isolated than ever, but I think we’re also discovering what a powerful tool the internet is to connect us. It’s forcing us to adapt and consider how to create a virtual experience and I’m excited to see where that takes us as we emerge out of this tough year.
I would like to see museums and galleries show a more diverse range of artists and stop focusing on the same handful of artists and artworks.
These institutions should be a place of discovery and not a regurgitation of key figures and their derivatives. I would like to see institutions invite artists and curators from diverse backgrounds so that visitors can get a better look at the diversity of creators and creations out there being made.
Interview by Fabio Pariante, journalist
Dylan Martinez (Hudson, 1985) received his MFA in glass at Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana and studied with many artisans in the United States and abroad, including some Venetian glass masters in Murano, Italy.
The artist’s production is based on the manipulation of the perception of matter, trompe l’oeil, for example, the most famous series is “Water bags”: plastic bags filled with water complete with bubbles, so as to perfect the optical illusion in the spectator. Instead, the “Surges” series is inspired by the undulating movements of nature, from the movement of ocean waves to flocks of little birds in the sky.
Martinez is colorblind and his artistic research stems from the need to communicate to others that reality can be altered thanks to glass, shape and light, as long as the water pockets are not touched by the user to feel the material and weight of the artwork.
The artist has won numerous awards and his sculptures are in international demand with exhibitions in France, Italy, America, Singapore, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Taiwan. Dylan Martinez lives and works in White Salmon, Washington.