Dale Chihuly via Wikimedia
CAIRO – 23 August 2017: No one else knows and shapes glass the way American artist Dale Chihuly can.
One of the best known artists in the studio craft movement, Chihuly has helped revolutionize how glass can be utilized as a medium, creating spectacular works of art over decades from a material most people don't really notice, despite it being everywhere.
chihuly glass by scott1346 on Flickr
Born in 1941 in Washington, Chihuly's relationship with glass started with a fascination he held since he was a child, which he took with him to the University of Washington while studying interior design. He would later enroll in the country’s first ever glass program in the Wisconsin University, and would go on to teach his own glass program at Rhode Island School of Design, where he taught at for more than a decade.
1971 would mark the start of Chihuly's 40 year long artistic career with the opening of the Pilchuck Glass School in Washington, which he founded with the help of patrons Anne Gould Hauberg and John H. Hauberg.
Chihuly's Persian Ceiling via 4johnny5 on Flickr
However, things wouldn't always be so clear for the glass artist; 1976 saw Chihuly involved in a car accident that left him with only one eye. This coupled with a separate accident permanently damaging his shoulder while bodysurfing resulted in him requiring assistants to help in his work.
The artist also suffers from Bipolar Disorder, which has influenced his output from periods of extensive manic work to depressive sluggishness. Because of this, the artist relies heavily on his teams.
Regardless of the fragility of health, Chihuly has still managed to create countless sculptures, paintings and glassworks, and is now a world-renowned name. Amongst some of the praise Chihuly has received for his work are twelve honors and two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Chihuly's work has been exhibited in 200 museums worldwide. More recently, Chihuly had 20 glass art installations peppered through the New York Botanical Garden for an exhibition set to run through October 29.
“The Sun” at the “Gardens of Glass” exhibition in Kew Gardens, London, England via Wikimedia
Things haven't been all sunshine for the artist, however. At the age of 75, old age has begun to show its effects on his physical and mental health, preventing Chihuly from working hands-on.
As if that wasn't enough, the artist is also in the center of a brutal lawsuit leveled against him by a former contractor, on the grounds that Chihuly has taken the credit for the work of his assistants without properly compensating them. While Chihuly's lawyers have denied the allegations, the court battle rages on.
Even with his originality under fire, Chihuly's glass still stands as testament to human creativity and ingenuity.
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