A local glass artist sells his work around the world

5:34 PM, Jan 2, 2013   |    comments
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Google Richard Jolley and you'll find images of artwork that aren't just colorful and pleasing to the eye, they mean something. And his pieces are popular around the world.

Richard Jolley is a glass master, an artist that creates some of the most beautiful pieces in the world.

"Making art is just great fun and I find that much more enjoyable than a lot of things," says Jolley.

Pieces with names like "The View From Here" and "Forces of Gravity" all show just how talented Jolley is.

"Somewhere in there you try to figure out what your voice is. I think for myself, in objecting abstraction I want to go with a figurative bent and talk about the human narrative," says Jolley. "I think between travel and just having a certain observation, the older you get you just become extremely intuitive so you always have these dearth of ideas," says Jolley.

His colorful creations can be seen in galleries from France to Italy, but he's most popular here in the United States where his life began in East Tennessee.

"I think Oak Ridge was a very interesting community to be raised in. It was a nice mid-sized city that had a lot of the amenities as far as the arts and science. It's interesting to live in a small town where there actually was an extremely high expertise in various fields," says Jolley.

He started focusing on his art in college and since then has come a long way.

"You try to work very hard and try to meet people, you know just very typical of any other profession, just try to meet people that can help you out. And try to have a lot of perseverance and a lot of true interest in believing in yourself," says Jolley.

He certainly has it down now. He not only works on equipment he made himself, he uses a traditional technique.

"We actually start from the raw materials as an over-simplification. Glass is basically two-thirds sand and a third flexers and stabilizers," says Jolley. "We take dips of glass, they cool and we do various manipulations and work them and re-heat them in front of the furnace until we finally fuse them all together and achieve our finished object."

He is busy working on an art piece that will soon ship to Florida. Some of the same concepts will be used in his project for the Knoxville Museum of Art. It will be the largest permanent art installation in the country. For this piece he is drawing inspiration from incredible places.

"You always want something to be fabulous. Actually we've been going on some trips to Italy and to France to look at the heroic French paintings and a lot of the major installations in say the Vatican by Michelangelo, Raphael and Delacroix in the French circuit," says Jolley.

Richard Jolley, a deeply talented man with his own ideas and his own way of doing things, but a success, nonetheless.

"I feel extremely lucky. Basically being able to do what I want to do and I feel that only in America could it be this. So, although it is an odd dream, it is part of the American dream," says Jolley.

One of "Your Stories." There's no place like this one.

Locally, you can find Richard Jolley's work at Bennett Galleries.


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