Artist Interview: Dr. Karyne E. Messina

Who are you and how long have you been an artist?
My name is Dr. Karyne E. Messina.

What medium(s) do you work in & why?
I’ve been a glass and metal artist for 7 years.

What is your creative process like?
Glassblowing is a dance between two people; a tango of sorts wherein pieces evolve as the artist and assistant work with each unique gather. New possibilities for forms arise as the dancers respect and control the properties of hot glass.

What is the best art-related advice you’ve received?
Something about art is intuitive; perhaps it is the visual image in one’s mind; what you imagine a piece could be. Changing an idea into a beautiful form of art takes additional aspects of one’s character such as patience, perseverance, and willingness to be a beginner again and as Malcolm Gladwell put it, 10,000 hours to become a master. It is Malcolm Gladwell’s statement, reiterated in different words by my glass teacher, Dave D’Orio, that has inspired me the most.

What is the biggest challenge you face as an artist?
Making blown glass is an unforgiving form of art. Once you have your first gather the process begins. There is little room for error. If you change your mind about how you want a piece to look, there is little opportunity to shift away from your original plan; it also can not be fixed or you can not work on it some today and more tomorrow. It is one process from start to finish. Unless you are a master glass-blower, errors mean you go back to square one and begin again.

Choose one piece that you currently have on display at Artomatic and tell the story of that piece.

"Sea Tango" by Dr. Karyne Messina

“Sea Tango” by Dr. Karyne Messina

I believe my work originally emerged as a reflection of my intrigue with creatures from the sea; creatures I came across as I explored the canals, marshes and shorelines along the edges of the Gulf of Mexico that folded into the Atlantic Ocean. The coral rock, though hard on my feet as a child, led to an appreciation for piercing, sharp points. Washed ashore jellyfish and Portuguese Man o’ War, with their bulbous forms and stinging, tentacles led to my affinity for full shapes with swirling tails of glass. Seashells taught me about one of natures most impressive examples of circular, curling objects infused with brilliant color. Plunging beneath the sea, I took in a plethora of breathtaking beauty. The reefs of my childhood were filled with forms and shapes of every type replete with magnificent color; some looked like they were courting, others looked as if they were dancing. It is the image of “the dance” I remember that inspired this piece, “Sea Tango.” It is in my the world of glassblowing and metal where I blend together current aspects of my life with images from childhood: An ever-evolving process like the sea.

What is your favorite part of the Artomatic experience so far?
The best think about Artomatic are the people; the artists and the staff. In my experience everyone is friendly, open and eager to help beginners who are not sure what to do as well as seasoned artists who may need help with an installation. It is great to have the opportunity to be with so many talented people who have many varying skills. The fact that it is open to anyone who makes art of any type creates an atmosphere of inclusiveness that is not always so easy to find.

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You can see more of Karyne’s work on display at Artomatic 2015 on the second floor, space 2-061.