Austin Stern's glass sculptures are seemingly innocent creatures that examine visceral emotions such as comfort, anxiety, and even fear. Inspired by the highly saturated colors found in the toys and cartoons of his childhood, he reinterprets traditional Venetian glass techniques to explore interpersonal relationships and mental health. Stern explained. “I am inspired by the bright and highly saturated colors found in the toys and cartoons of my childhood, and the patterns found in both nature and the world of fashion. My current work explores interpersonal relationships, and mental health. The ways in which we support each other, take care of ourselves, and how we cope with various anxieties and fears are all concepts my work explores through a cheerful lens of brightly colored playful creatures.”
Stern started blowing glass as a high school student in Palo Alto, California. After earning a degree in glassblowing from Emporia State University in 2013, he moved to Seattle to find a place in its glass community. Since relocating to Seattle, Stern has worked with an array of notable glass artists, taught glassblowing workshops both nationally and internationally, and exhibited his work in Sweden, Thailand, and throughout the United States.
The ‘Little Monsters’ series is a body of work where cartoon like creatures interact with physical manifestations of their own anxieties. These worries which assail the monsters, gleefully weighing down their minds and bodies, are simultaneously sinister and comical representations of our daily setbacks and stumbling blocks. By approaching this subject matter from a playful and saccharine perspective, the viewer is invited to find the humor in the small battles we fight daily to find positivity, peace, and happiness.
Renwick Gallery of Smithsonian Art Museum “New Glass Now” Washington, DC, USA
October 22nd, 2021 - March 6th, 2022
Peninsula School of Art “Old is New: Contemporary Artists using Historic Techniques” Door County, Wisconsin, USA
Habatat Gallery “Silver Show” Detroit, Michigan, USA
Corning Museum of Glass “New Glass Now” Corning, New York, USA
Young Arts Patrons “Young Collectors Contemporary 4th Annual Exhibition” Memphis, Tennessee, USA
Bangkok Glass Company “Thailand Glass Art Festival” Bangkok, Thailand
Vetri Gallery “Introducing: Portinoy, Bach, Kaha, Stern” Seattle, WA USA
Öterlens Glashytta “Masters Behind the Glass: Crossing Borders” Skåne, Sweden
Stern was selected as one of the 100 artists to be included in New Glass Now, a global survey of contemporary glass, which opened at The Corning Museum of Glass in May 2019. Listed as One of Twelve Glass Artists: NY Times Magazine "Best New Handblown Glass Artists" of 2019
2300 Featured Artist Residency. Corning Museum of Glass. Corning, New York, USA
Summer Featured Artist Residency. Tacoma Museum of Glass. Tacoma, Washington, USA John and Mary Shirley Scholarship. Pratt Fine Arts Center. Seattle, Washington, USA Pilchuck Glass School Scholarship. Pilchuck Glass School. Stanwood, Washington, USA
Corning Museum of Glass- Corning, NY. USA. Permanent collection.
Samcheok City Hall Public Artwork- Samcheok City, South Korea. Permanent collection. Bangkok Glass Company Public Artwork- Pathum Thani, Bangkok, Thailand. Permanent collection.