Grant Garmezy is a hot glass sculptor working in Richmond, Virginia, known for his natural yet fantastic glass animal sculptures.
The artist is drawn to animal imagery and natural forms
Grant Garmezy finds himself drawn to depicting animal imagery and natural forms when he sculpts. When he first started out, he found passion in the challenge to capture the physical features of animals, but now he strives to capture expression and movement in the work in order to elevate the work from simply a sculpture into a narrative.
Garmezy must use special tools, timing, and gravity to manipulate the 2000 degree material
Grant Garmezy grew up on a working farm outside of Nashville, Tennessee. As far back as he can remember, he’s always been fascinated with the arts and working with his hands to create things. His artistic career began when he was very young, taking drawing classes with a local illustrator.
He became serious while in his teens, and spent multiple summers at intensive arts programs for high school students. His passion to pursue a career in the arts led Grant to Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Richmond. He originally intended to focus on jewellery and small-scale metals, but once he wondered into the glass studio, he discovered a love for the molten material.
Grant has never been attracted to making functional glass items; instead he has always been drawn to its sculptural qualities. Unlike other materials, glass cannot be sculpted with your hands – artists must use special tools, timing, and gravity to manipulate the two thousand degree material, which is constantly moving while hot.
Grant is drawn to depicting animal imagery and natural forms when sculpting. When he first started, he found passion in the challenge to capture the physical features of animals, but he now strives to capture expression and movement in the work in order to elevate the work from a sculpture to a story.
A glass studio is an amazing space – a place where a team of people come together to create one a kind pieces at 2,300 degrees. In all glass studios, or "hotshops" you will find the same three basic pieces of equipment that allow glass to be melted and worked: a furnace for melting the glass, a reheating chamber to keep the piece at a moveable temperature, and an annealer for allowing the piece to cool very slowly to room temperature.
What Grant does in the hotshop is called hot sculpting, or "off-hand" sculpting. This means that he sculpts the glass free hand while it is heated to about 2,000 degrees. He uses an extremely hot torch and a variety of hand tools to manipulate the glass. He does not use moulds. For that reason, each and every piece is truly unique. Grant works with at least one assistant, but most of the work requires the help of an entire team of skilled artists.
(Below: this recording of a livestream shows the process from start to finish, in total around 3 hours)
How to become an artist (with pictures)
While some incredibly lucky people are simply born with the gift of artistic prowess, others have to study to become fluent in the language of art. Whichever path you are on, be aware that everyone is an artist.—Some people just let their creative urges out more easily and completely than others. If the artistic path is calling you, begin the journey with baby steps.