Dustin Wagner

Columbus Dispatch article on Hawk Galleries' 'Brilliant' exhibition


Artist Statement

-Undulations of a Glass Tethered Mind-

I often tell people that if I was not a glassblower I would most likely be a bum. Every ounce of my energy stems from working with this unique and profound medium. All my daily and yearly motivation is driven towards this one singular pursuit of perfection. Without it, I would feel broken, and some years I have been. This tenacious drive reinforces me to continue pushing my work into more difficult and creative directions. There's a sense of satisfaction and happiness that I find in this space of creativity that feels like I've been rewarded for living. Glass gives me the coordinates to my own place in the world. I would be useless without it.


I have always been enamored with molten glass and the way it can take on any shape I design. My imagination turns each experience with this art form into a sci-fi adventure where I find myself floating in the creative underworld of glass. I usually ask myself, what do I want to see made out of glass? What can I make next? Because, why not? With 15 years of experience behind me, I can do anything. With a revolving door of simple questions, I escape into my mind and let my instincts lead me to ideas that bend my own reality. I often refer to my thoughts with glass as undulations of a glass tethered mind. I believe that fluidity of thought translates into my work quite well. Although I find that inspiration can also be sparked in the most ordinary of situations, like while reading or cooking dinner. And even while brushing my teeth, my mind can sometimes inconveniently wander. Whenever and wherever I find myself inspired, I immediately experience a feeling of emptiness. Within this fog of nothingness, an image slowly starts to appear in the back of my mind. My sketchbook is always close by so I can portray what is slowly revealing itself to me through the darkness, along with some rambling words to accompany each little sketch. I’ll then continue polishing my shoes or whatever the hell it was that I was doing.


Once drawn up, the pieces are pretty well thought out, some taking years of mental scrutiny and many redesigned sketches before even attempting them. This is mainly to avoid loss of precious resources, but also to make sure I'm completely prepared to execute my vision. Sometimes, I even engineer my own tools out of steel to help facilitate the process of the more unusual forms. While these tools are an invention of sorts, they are also an extension of my creative side within my work. And not to mention, I have so much fun with them! If it’s not fun then it’s not worthwhile some old wise guy probably used to say.


Ultimately, my goals with glass are simple. Like a contractor building houses, I just want to build a lifelong sustainable career. In fact, I come from a family of dedicated builders, engineers and electricians. Overall my family is a quiet crowd and I draw inspiration from how they honed their craft over their lifetime. I feel I am doing the same exact thing. One day, I would like to have my own studio on a wooded property where my work and I can coexist and grow together along side nature. Being alone with my imagination has always been the flagship to my journey. Even as a child, I would simply use what was around me to bring that imagination to life. I am thankful that glass happened to be around me at the right time. That youthful, creative spirit still drives me to this day and probably will for a long time to come. Unless I win the lottery or if Elon Musk starts taking people off the street for test flights into space. Shoot, I’ll blow glass on Mars.

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