Sunday, December 5, 2010

Artist Profile - Preston Singletary

Glass brings another dimension to Native American Art  It's luminous quality and shadow effects are like a spirit that appears when the lighting is right.  -Preston Singletary.

I first saw Singletary's work in the NMAI in DC.  His glass sculpture was a raven who had stolen the sun.  There was a Tlingit story in text next to his sculpture, which is Singletary's tribe and cultural heritage.  The light reflecting off and shining through the piece made it look mystical and just breathtaking.  

From his bio:  Singletary grew up hearing his culture's traditional stories from his Tlingit family and many of those stories prvided inspiration for his work.  The formline design skills evident in so many of his pieces were acquired through study and collaboration with other prominent Northwest Coastal artist.  With Northwest native icons, supernatural beings, transformation themes, animal spirits, and basketry design being his inspiration.

Artist Statement:  Glass has a defining historic connection with Native Americans in the form of trade beads, which were quickly adopted as a form of ornamentation.  Glass has an inherent sculptural quality that showcases another dimension with shadows.

It's crazy how Singletary never went through any university art school training.  he learned by working with other artists and attending workshops at the Pilchuck Glass School.  Now his artworks are included in major museums across the country and also in Sweden.  He is a Board of Trustee member for the Pilchuck and the Seattle Art Musuem.


  1. Student's don't use his artist statement as a model for your own. He's not saying anything and now I can see that he didn't go to art school.

  2. Lunsford said...
    I only chose a few lines from his statement, mainly because I have studied the trade beads and understand what he is saying about a glass connections. I should have included more info. I also think it's interesting that he never had training from an educational institution. He studied with other Indian artists which is a traditional way, and also with masters from Venice. He took a different route in his specialized training and that's okay.

  3. Can you post all of his artist statement?

  4. oh man love his work! I wanted 2 go to NMAI when they had an allen houser exhibit.

  5. Absolutely adore his work! I would love to purchase some as well. I am Raven of the Coho House, Tlingit! :)