Every month, Creative Gateways celebrates their resident artists with an honored focus on each person’s new works, source of inspiration, talent, and origin story. This month we are excited to turn the spotlight on AMusinGlass artist, Terry Israelson. Join us for his opening reception, Surfing The Spontaneous, on Friday, September 15th, from 5-8pm.
Aptitude in Ancestry
Terry’s story begins in his birth town of Santa Monica, California, where a life in the ocean and inspirational kin equally influenced his creative growth. Son of a technical illustrator, and grandson of a talented landscape sketch artist, Terry has always been of the opinion that the nature of his talent began with family. “The way my daughter has taken to painting [and now glass art], I’m a firm believer in the concept of some level of genetic transfer between generations, of creative ability, insight, and aptitude.”
His father encouraged a plein air lifestyle for Terry, making sure he had the resources necessary to create, and the setting to fuel inspiration. “Dad put a pencil in my hand at a very early age: after a spoon and fork, it was my first real tool. I have always been an ‘in-the-moment junkie.’ I have found painting, particularly the immediacy of plein-air painting, to be the most fascinating, engaging and surprising experience.” Now, even after 35 years of living in the land locked, high desert of Northern Arizona, you can still see the strong influence that his early relationship with nature and water has in his work.
Evolution Through Discovery
Terry’s early adult life was a revelatory one. Intent on educating himself in the art world, his first call carried him from an immersed surfing lifestyle at UC San Diego, inland, to the art department at UC Los Angeles. There, he would begin to discover his passions by process of exploratory elimination. Terry’s first inkling about his fate in the creative world was that he would find success in following his father’s footsteps and become a graphic artist or illustrator. This path, however, brought him to a wall. “After a year of classes, I realized that should I continue in this vein as a profession…there was a strong likelihood that over time, I might kill my love for making art by repetitively illustrating others’ visions.”
The decisions that followed this epiphany would build a well-rounded repertoire of knowledge in art history, theory, and technique, all accumulated behind his B.A. earned in art and design. His many interests in college ranged from print making, figure drawing, and photography, in styles inspired by Neo-Dada, Pop, and Abstract Expressionist artists. These influences, combined with his acquired passion in building and wood work, added up to a new dream; to be an architect.
From Roadtrip to Redirection
Shortly after graduating, Terry set out with determination, to a part of the country known for its beautiful, historical architecture: New England. He decided to take a more preparatory path and looked for work in carpentry, hoping to back his dream in larger scale design. For several years, his self-created internships developed into a passion and aptitude for more finely crafted pieces. Five years later, Terry would find a home for his talent in Sedona Arizona, after an invitation to hike 600-miles cross-country in southern Utah. This memorable experience both created and solidified a love for the Southwest. In Sedona, Terry kept his passion in motion by opening up a successful furniture and cabinet design studio, where he let loose with the endless possibilities of design. “[At] ‘Quartersawn Architectural Woodworks,’ I specialized in a wide variety of unique, edgy work that ranged from Territorial or Craftsman style to what I like to call ‘Rocketship.'”
For the Love of Radiance
After 23 years of craftsmanship, Terry closed his woodworking studio in order to rekindle his love for illumination in painting. “Traveling extensively throughout the U.S., Europe, Indonesia, the Caribbean, Mexico and Canada, I have become a very visual creature. My paintings are about a certain quality of light and color. I use a wide range of subject matter, as I care more about how the light hits something than what is being hit.” Following his instincts to learn new things, he also answered an ad one day for an assistant in an artist’s studio. He was soon taken on by Pilisa Rainbow Lady, whose personal busniess AMusinGlass provided the opportunity to bring his art into a whole new dimension in fused glass! He became an integral part in the development of what is now Creative Gateways, experimenting and learning new techniques alongside Pilisa, as she evolved and still continues to develop her businesses. In March, Terry shared with us his other sources of inspiration when working with glass and other mediums, and also explained what it’s like to work in a collaborative environment like Creative Gateways.
Surfing the Spontaneous
This month we are excited to celebrate the new works of Terry Israelson. Using his trained eye for layering and value, he creates fascinating depth in both his abstract studies and screen printed fused glass pieces. What may be most impressive is his diversity of style. Our gallery walls are illuminated by his stunningly unique sconces, that play with seemingly endless combinations of organic flowing textures and geometric contrast. It seems no matter what medium Terry lays his hands on, the new experience only serves to evolve his work. Join us on Friday, September 15th from 5-8pm, for Surfing the Spontaneous where you will have the opportunity to explore his creative processes over champagne and wine paired with some of Terry’s favorite foods, including sweet and savory finger sandwiches.