Chris Pantano had been a professional glass artist for 40 years, before his final ‘retirement’ in 2012. Born in Sydney in 1948, Chris is a self-taught artist-craftsman working with glass using kiln forming fusing casting and blowing techniques. His first international exhibition was in Singapore in 1986 and he has since exhibited in France, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, New Zealand, Japan and North America. In Australia, he is recognized as one of Australia's leading collectible glass artist, and has built a global reputation among his peers as a master craftsman.
The inspiration for Chris' work comes from a variety of sources - including the unique qualities of glass itself, especially in its molten state. For Chris, the endless ways glass provides to play with colour, form and texture is a great avenue for creative expression. He is a master at taking advantage of the many unexpected effects that result from playing with colour and creating forms and textures. In addition to his skill in the handling and shaping of glass, Chris’ mastery of colour and pattern, and the emphasis he placed on the story depicted by each work added enormously to the desirability and collectability of his works.
Chris said "I had a non-traditional approach to glass as a material through which I created objects that were mostly non-functional. My mood that day played a major role in determining what created. This allowed me to take full advantage of the various qualities of glass as I coaxed the material into a form which was truly expressive of my creativity at that moment”.
Chris has been influenced by his lifelong interest in philosophy, anthropology, ancient cultures, the development of writing and language and the universal use of symbols and forms in art across all continents. He references mysticism, science and the art of ancient cultures in his ongoing creative adventure. Much of his inspiration also comes from the rich diversity of Australia's natural beauty -- the reef, the rain forest, wildflowers, the Outback and the colours and textures of Australian landscape. He notes: “Much of the inspiration for my work came not only from the special qualities of the glass itself, but also from the rich diversity of Australia's natural environment the rainforest, the Great Barrier Beef and the outback. My interest in philosophy and the Arts/Crafts of previous and tribal cultures along with my love of drawing, played a major role in the direction and development of my work. I created the designs in layers within the glass, much the same as a painter would on his canvas."
Chris' work is highly regarded by private and institutional collectors around the world. These include the permanent collection in Australia's Parliament House in Canberra; the Queensland Art Gallery; Northern Territory Art Galleries; The McGaugherty Glass Collection at Latrobe Regional Gallery, Victoria; The Dr Robert Wilson Collection at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; Collection Ludwig in Hannover, Germany; and Koganezaki Glass Museum in Shizuoka, Japan.
Chris' global contribution to the artistry and craftsmanship of glass making was recognised in a major retrospective of his work at University Sunshine Coast in March 2012.