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Artist Profile: Dale Chihuly

The artist Dale Chihuly has been dubbed by some as “The Tim Burton of the Art World,” and if you have been fortunate enough to have seen any of his artwork, you might heartily agree. One thing is for sure, though—once you see a Chihuly piece, chances are you’ll never forget it.

Walk into the lobby of the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas and just try to ignore Chihuly’s Fiori di Como. It would be next to impossible. The piece consists of over two thousand glass flowers hovering over the heads of the guests as they wait to check-in. Fiori di Como is Chihuly's interpretation of Italian flowers in the spring.

The Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art in Virginia Beach, VA is lucky enough to call one of Chihuly’s pieces home. Suspended from the ceiling, Mille Colori was originally part of an exhibition where 15 of these enormous chandeliers were placed under bridges and across Venetian canals. Measuring 14 feet tall by eight feet wide, the chandelier is made up of 520 blown glass objects attached to a metal frame called an armature. Even though most of the chandelier is made of hollow glass, the final work weighs over 2,000 pounds.

It is not encouraged for patrons of the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art to lay on the floor to observe the art, but chances are if you do visit the museum, that is exactly what you will find beneath Mille Colori.

The Chihuly Garden and Glass in Seattle, WA is in the shadow of the Space Needle, and the museum provides a look at the inspiration and influences that inform the career of the artist. One of the most recognizable pieces in the museum is the Ikebana Boat. (The Ikebana series’ name refers to the art of Japanese flower arrangement).

The genius of Chihuly’s pieces is that they have perfect balance. With some of his works, such as Mille Colori, it is easy to notice the symmetry, but with others, such as Fiori di Como and Ikebana Boat, the pieces rely on an external casing to keep its various pieces connected. For Ikebana Boat, the boat IS the balance. His pieces incorporate repetition and rhythm in some ways, but in other ways, everything is different and unique. His work is truly masterful.

Dale Chihuly’s artwork can be found in many major museums all over the world. If you are lucky enough to be able to view one of his pieces, you will not be disappointed.



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