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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Illuminating the Soul: The Artistic Journey of Michael Bokrosh

Last updated Wednesday, May 15, 2024 15:53 ET , Source: Michael Bokrosh

Michael Bokrosh's mesmerizing glass sculpture collection that reflects his unique vision is the fruit of his artistic journey that illustrates his passion, creativity, and innovative spirit.

Seattle, WA, 05/15/2024 / SubmitMyPR /

The beauty and delicate craftsmanship of glass sculptures have fascinated audiences for centuries. These sculptures have been found in civilizations such as ancient Egypt and Rome. Early artisans discovered how glass can be shaped into vessels, ornaments, and even figurines. Following this discovery, the art form naturally developed over time as artisans embraced various techniques and styles, such as coldworking. One of the defining characteristics of glass sculpture is its versatility. Artists can manipulate glass in various ways (e.g., blowing, casting, fusing, slumping, etc.).

Coldworking, in particular, introduces a unique approach to glass sculpting as it focuses on shaping and finishing the material without needing extreme heat. It allows artists to sculpt glass at room temperature using techniques such as cutting, grinding, polishing, and engraving.

Coldworking requires patience and skill, given that the slightest miscalculation can alter the piece irreversibly. Contemporary glass artists continue to push the boundaries of this technique, and among them is Michael Bokrosh, a renowned glass artist from Seattle, Washington, and the owner of Bokrosh Studio.

Michael's father, a master glass craftsman for nearly five decades, had exposed him to glass craftsmanship from an early age. The then-14-year-old was his father's apprentice, learning the complexities of glasswork at Zeno Glass Company.

Recounting his teenage years, he remarked, "I had no plans to really create or be an artist. I was probably about 16 years old, working with my father at Zeno Glass Shop in Mankato, Minnesota, around 1969. I happened to go upstairs and found a box of old stained glass remnants. I remember reaching down and looking at these remnants, holding them up to the light—it was like holding pure color in my hand." Michael was deeply moved by this experience, solidifying his passion.

In 1975, the young artisan ventured westward to Portland, Oregon, desiring to expand his horizons in a place where stained glass as an art form was gaining momentum. He joined Glass Craft Studio and immersed himself in stained glass lamp reproduction. Within only six months, Michael mastered drafting and designing and developed a passion for glass art and restoration, and this was when his fascination for the craft deepened.

Michael met George Smolcic, an esteemed glass master, by chance. This encounter motivated the aspiring artist to pursue advanced training in Europe. He learned more about the art of cutting and polishing art glass under the tutelage of George and his father, Duro Smolcic, at the Brusinia Stakla factory in Pula, Yugoslavia. It was this experience that drove him to enroll in the prestigious glass master's program at the Orrefors Glass School in Sweden.

After going through rigorous training, the budding artisan's skills improved at Orrefors Glass School. Michael trained in both hot glass shaping and cold glass cutting, which made him understand the medium from the inside and out. "However, I was actually conflicted about my time at Orrefors," shared Michael. "I wanted to excel as a glassblower, but I knew I also had an affinity and talent for cold glass work."

He later found clarity in his artistic vision and returned to the United States with all the knowledge and skills he acquired in his artistic journey. Michael joined Glass Eye Studio in Seattle, Washington, to apply his skills as a glassblower. However, he also took time to learn more about cold glass artistry. "I eventually decided to fully devote myself to the art of cold glass sculpture," Michael stated.

In 1985, the ever-passionate artist established his own studio in Seattle called Bokrosh Studio. The studio's direction took a clear focus when fellow glass artists sought Michael's expertise in coldworking their blown glass vessels. "There was so much demand, so we had to create a glass repair and restoration division at the studio," he supplied.

Michael was introduced to the creative possibilities of working with optical glass by another artist, Greg Engelsby. Being the fast learner that he is, Michael created his first full production line of art glass paperweights and optical glass sculptures, expanding his artistic portfolio. He reached out to galleries, eager to showcase his creations. Michael then held exhibitions at venues like Gump's in San Francisco and Geary's in Los Angeles, as well as other art venues. This exposure furthered his visibility in the art world and propelled his optical glass artwork into the limelight.

Michael then shifted his vision into creating large-scale, optical art glass sculptures by 1990, spending months pioneering and refining these magnificent one-of-a-kind sculptures. His efforts paid off, given that he was featured in over a dozen respected art galleries nationwide, including solo exhibitions that feature his optical glass artistry.

Six years later, Michael designed and constructed a groundbreaking machine for cutting and polishing glass on a scale never done before. This enabled him to sculpt intricate massive pieces of optical art glass made of transparent gold optical glass. The outcome of this endeavor is the first sculpture in the Monumental Glass Series, titled "Mergingold," completed in 2001.

In reflecting on his 50-year artistic journey, Borkosh stated, "Two of the most important lessons I have learned in my artistic career is that Creativity inherently flows through me and all others via the boundless Abundance of the Universe." This mindset is apparent in all of his works. "Rainbow Portal," for instance, another of his monumental works crafted from pure transparent gold optical glass, astounds with its kaleidoscope of colors. Meanwhile, "Syskwan Rainbow," named after the primal masculine cosmic force, echoes the artist's reverence for the polarities within creation.

Michael Bokrosh continues to expand his collection of mesmerizing glass sculptures, which reflect his unique vision and worldview. He pushes the boundaries of glass artistry while balancing respect for tradition and innovation by creating these awe-inspiring works. His sculptures offer art enthusiasts the opportunity to own a piece of his imaginative artistic talent. These sculptures must be seen in person to fully grasp their extraordinary and transformative stature. Among the examples of his most sought-after works are "Mergingold," "Rainbow Portal," and "Rainbow Arrow."

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