Artist Interview: David Zvanut

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Q&A With The Artist

What are your ear­li­est mem­o­ries relat­ed to art?
 Watch­ing my moth­er paint.
How and when did you start becom­ing an artist yourself?
 I start­ed build­ing wood and plas­tic mod­els in grade school, and after a while I start­ed mak­ing my own con­struc­tions out of spare and sal­vaged parts. I start­ed paint­ing in high school because my moth­er paint­ed and I want­ed to try it. I start­ed by copy­ing famous works , then moved on to paint­ing from photographs.
What was the evo­lu­tion like toward find­ing your cur­rent voice and visu­al vocabulary?
 I start­ed get­ting some notice and rewards for my work, so I went to col­lege to get a BFA. There I was exposed to many new ways to think about art. I was a painter all through under­grad and then grad school, but after I grad­u­at­ed I start­ed to make things from found objects. That led me to using scrap glass as a mate­r­i­al. As I became more skill­ful with glass as a pri­ma­ry medi­um I start­ed to use it more and more.
What is your process like?
 It depends on what I am mak­ing. For lead­ed glass pan­els I like to impro­vise the design as I go along. I am not inter­est­ed in mak­ing tra­di­tion­al lead­ed pan­els. For chan­de­liers I like to use found objects I already have avail­able, but if client has some­thing in mind I try to work with them to come up with some­thing unique. Some­times I will use glass from beer bot­tles and make them into util­i­tar­i­an objects such as bowls and plat­ters. Oth­er times I start with a spe­cif­ic plan drawn out on paper to use as a pattern.
Is there any­thing from your artist state­ment that you wish to expound on, that you nor­mal­ly don’t have the chance to discuss?
 I like flawed sur­faces. So much of the art I see in homes is glossy and slick, with clean lines. I like things to be a lit­tle messy, and I try to use flaws to set off the over­all beau­ty of a piece.
What do you try to con­trol in your sur­faces, and what do you leave to chance?
 In my fused glass work I want a smooth sur­face, but the edges can be more acci­den­tal. When I make a bowl from scrap glass I like to heat the glass enough to be able to stir it around and mix the colors.
Where do you see your work going from here?
 I want to con­tin­ue to learn new tech­niques to use with glass that I can then incor­po­rate into my work.