Jezebel Gallery » Hosted Artists » Santiago Rivera

Father Earth Ancestral Ascension Clown Dancer Moon of the Purple Grass
Father Earth Ancestral
Clown Dancer Moon of the
Purple Grass

Santiago Rivera - Artist Statement

 My goal is to create 3-dimensional, life-size forms, specifically, Mescalero Apache Gaan Dancers with blown and hot sculpted kinetic elements. I have been intrigued with the ritual purpose that these figures embody spiritually. Traditionally, they are evil spirit chasers who are expected to corral and banish disturbing forces. Because of the expressive qualities of these mountain gods, I have worked for many years to capture their spiritual essence and their overtly threatening demeanor. I have learned to cast in a variety of metals and have become adept at silver and goldsmithing and lapidary work. I also paint with glass frit; a technique that I believe is highly innovative in the glass world at this time. I have learned to fuse, slump and cast glass and have produced wood embellishments and bases for these pieces. As I see it, the final step in my creative journey is to learn to blow and sculpt on a punty. While I have some experience blowing, currently my strength lies in my sculpting abilities.

Santiago Rivera - Artist Biography

As an 8- year-old child, I used to ride horseback along a tributary on my grandparents’ property and often stopped for a dip in this creek. While swimming, I discovered a clay deposit. Squishing the new and fascinating substance through my fingers produced an interesting sensation. I began to mold it into nonsensical objects. I left these newly formed artworks on the bank of the creek. Before long, I had at least a dozen abstract sculptures on nature’s platform. So began my passion for sculpting. Instead of following what came naturally, creating contemporary forms, I delved into what I considered classical training -- drawing, painting and sculpting. Thinking this was real art, I continued on this path into adulthood, always creating pieces from found objects.

A few years after this discovery in the creek, I was at a yard sale with my grandmother, Mela, my sole inspiration for pursuing the arts. I witnessed in her a yearning for an intrinsic object of beauty, a small stained glass window. I saw her weigh the need to clothe her grandchildren, against the desire to possess a pane of multi-colored, patterned glass. The look of awe visible in her face struck a chord in me on that fateful day. I never let it go. In the end, she chose to clothe her grandchildren. At this precise moment, I decided I would learn to make stained glass windows. Before she passed away in 1996, I filled her home with beautiful colored windows. Her reaction was always the same, “Oh Mijo, mi Santiagito.” These were very sweet words to me and always left me floating on air. When she passed away, I decided to make a business of glass. I started this business in her home. After doing some research, I bought a kiln and some glass. Here began Santiago’s Glass Works which morphed into A Burst Forth and currently Rincon Enterprises. Until recently, I couldn’t settle on a business name that embodied my soul. Passion and Fury does so, it is the permanent name I have chosen to describe my body of work.

Although hot glass is fairly new to me (within the past 5 years), I have painted, sculpted and drawn my entire life. My works in stone, bronze, wood and canvass are in collections all over the world. I have won numerous awards in my youth, everything from best of show to honorable mention.

In 1986, instead of taking the next logical step with my art, I chose to purchase a restaurant. Three years later, I purchased another and fifteen years later I sold both to return to my one true passion, art. I acquired most of my technical skills on my own and through observing others. My first professional teaching experience was at Mesa College in Tucumcari where I was asked by the Dean to teach summer art classes. In 2002, I began teaching at Hot Flash Glass in Albuquerque and then at Stained Glass Concepts also in Albuquerque. Currently, I am in discussion with D&L Stained Glass to teach at their facility. In 2007 and 2009 I was awarded scholarships to attend Pilchuck School of Glass by Chateau St. Michele and Glass Alliance New Mexico respectively. Most recently I was juried into the 40th annual Taos Art Glass Invitational and I am pleased to have been nominated for a Corning Award for 2010.