Burbank Arts Newsletter June 17 – 30
I began my glass obsession by creating small mosaics utilizing tiny glass pieces then moved to building traditional stained glass windows. From there, I graduated to creating kiln-formed fused glass pieces. I use glass, heat, gravity, color, and a pinch of magic to fabricate my contemporary glasswork.
2) How did you first become interested in art?
I graduated from California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) in ’93 and had worked in set decorating departments on films and television shows for 25 years, while practicing my glass hobby in my off hours and weekends. Thankfully, I was awarded a few large-scale commissions that afforded me the luxury of outfitting my home studio with the tools and machines I’d need to continue following my glass art passions. The more works I made and the more techniques that I utilized in my work, the more satisfied I became. I was falling deeper and deeper into love with fused glass and my artistic confidence was growing. I was still working on productions and splitting my time with studio hours when I began an 18-month apprenticeship with a fused glass master, Narcissus Quagliata. Under that enriching experience, I began making more meaningful pieces, works that had a deeper resonance than being simple, pretty plates. An artistic paradigm shift was happening to me and I was finally beginning to bring significant themes and approaches to my artwork for the first time since I first touched glass. Around this time, I permanently shifted out of the entertainment business and began working at Judson Studios, one of America’s preeminent glass studios dating back to 1897. Now I spend my working hours creating glass objects for clients around the globe and then come home and continue to work on my own projects or personal commissions.
3) How does art enrich a community, and what are some ways people can engage with art in Burbank?
I think art holds a unique responsibility for a community. A city that recognizes and encourages a healthy approach to art is a more culturally diverse environment. All art isn’t for everybody and there is some artwork that I simply don’t “get,” but a city’s willingness to present art either on walls, inside galleries, or even on utility boxes shows its inhabitants that a creative and visually stimulating approach to everyday living – with a dose of individualized creativity – demonstrates an open-mindedness and welcoming attitude. A city that approaches art with open arms is a city that proves to me that it’s got a kind of confidence and a willingness to open eyes to visuals, or concepts, or attitudes one might not necessarily be exposed to in a city lacking such creative endeavors.
4) If you could share with our community one thing about art, what would it be?
I’d love the community of Burbank to become even more culturally diverse. There are millions of walls within our city limits that are prime opportunity to display colorful visual cues and with our talent pool as wide and expansive as just about any city out there, we have a responsibility to enrich every neighborhood with artwork. Located within our city limits are the Disney Studios, Warner Brothers Animation, Dreamworks Animation, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, etc. as well as the fantastic Center Stage Gallery that provide the countless artists that make a living a home base of sorts. Harnessing those creative minds would be spectacular to watch on a grand scale.
To learn more about Andy and his work, visit http://www.andygersh.com/ or follow him on Instagram firstname.lastname@example.org