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.
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.
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.