Studio Visit: Greg Owen

On a recent rainy Saturday, we made a trip to Tacoma to visit Greg Owen at his studio. Greg is a longtime friend and artist of the gallery, and his new series of masks has really captured our attention. For years, he showed his formeyearos (oblong abstract blown glass forms) in successful shows at Traver Gallery and Vetri. With the masks he’s found a new voice and begun a second act in his artistic career.

Sipping drinks from handblown dimpled cups, we sunk into his red leather couch and listened to records from his obsessively curated collection. His space has glass sculptures clustered together — many gifted from artist friends — ephemera from a lifetime of travels, and vintage pin-up paraphernalia poking out amongst stacks of books.

Greg’s genuine personality, international experiences (born in Hong Kong and has traveled and worked abroad extensively) and years of yoga training clearly influence his work. His masks exude a sense of warmth and inclusivity. Deeply influenced by the belief that art can break through cultural and economic barriers, he creates work that presents a melting pot of facial features and motifs.

Unlike many glass sculptors, Greg doesn’t aim for the technically perfect — it’s not all symmetrical circles and straight lines; he prefers it that way. With just a few tools and a gather of hot glass, he creates something that appears effortless and confident. Of his process, he says: “It’s more spiritual. The in the moment, no mistakes, no erasers mentality is a very freeing process. It allows them to be what they are. I kind of roll out the glass and whatever the profile is, I go from there. It started as all the guys with beards because it started as Vikings. Then I flip it upside down, and I got these great beehive hairdos. It was incredibly liberating to do this and have people say, ‘Oh, I get it.’”

We are thrilled to spotlight Greg Owen’s work. Visit the gallery to interact with this exciting new series.