In the always exciting glass scene of the Pacific Northwest — home to some of the finest glass artists anywhere in the world — it can be a struggle to stand out. But even in a shop full of killers, Nic Asturino of Annealed Innovations is making his mark.
Asturino decided to jump on the the torch after seeing his friends do production pieces in the early ’00s. When he first got to work, he dialed in his craftsmanship on spoons and sherlocks.
But his most iconic works to date are the skulls, which take a life of their own from piece to piece. After a brief stint creating rocket ships with a blowing technique he’d already nailed down, he decided it was time for something a bit more intricate.
He said the skulls were just the outlet he was looking for.
“It was an opportunity for me to practice sculpting,” he said. “You find that one thing you can manipulate to do little things to change emotion.”
The practice paid off. His cartoon-esque skulls are something you’d expect to see in a “Roger Rabbit” movie as opposed to a haunted house.
Asturino is currently based out of Cowboy Glass, a shop headed by Chris Kerner in Eugene, Oregon. It’s a packed house, which has led to fantastic collabs with Kerner, Happa, Gemini Andy, and many other of Oregon’s finest.
This past fall, Cowboy Glass, hosted Team Japan members Kengtaro, Aquariust, and Northern Lights. The Team Japan visit helped Asturino dive a bit more deeply into the art of assembly — already an aspect of his quest to go bigger,
He said the collaborative aspect allows him to focus on the smallest details of the process.
“I’m really enjoying creating a lot of smaller pieces and creating something larger,” he said. “I recently worked on this piece with Kengtaro, and I’m working on grass, trees, leaves — these are things I’ve never done before, that’s really exciting.”
Asturino said his color palette is a lucky accident. When color arrives at the shop he’s frequently the last to find out. For the most part, his dice rolls have worked out great. While many of his pieces could be considered heady, many are Tron-esque.
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