An interview of Preston Singletary conducted 2011 March 23-24, by Mary Savig, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, at Singletary's studio, in Seattle, Washington.
Singletary speaks of his family background, especially his Tlingit heritage and his grandmother; his early interest in music; his job at the Glass Eye Studio in Seattle; his formative years as a glass blower in Seattle and at Pilchuck Glass School; his early styles and processes in the modern Venetian tradition; his interest in Tlingit motifs; early mentors including David Svenson, Joe David, and Tony Jojola; collaboration in the studio with other glass artists and other native artists who work with various media; his interest in the modernist primitivist art movement; the character of significant exhibitions and commissions; his collaborative project with David Svenson and native Alaskans on the Pilchuck Founders' Totem; how he met his wife in Sweden; descriptions of his processes and techniques, including lighting techniques; his retrospective at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma and the Smithsonian's Gustave Heye Center in New York; current and future directions of his work; the character of his studio, including the contributions of his assistants; collaborations with other native artists including Tammy Garcia, Joe Feddersen, and Maori jade carver Lewis Gardiner; his interest in Jungian psychology and shamanism; his relationship with critics, collectors, and dealers; and his involvement with native communities. Singletary also recalls Dante Marioni, Paul Marioni, Benjamin Moore, Lino Tagliapietra, Dale Chihuly, Dan Dailey, Stanislav Libensky, Napoleone Martinuzzi, David Svenson, Keke Cribbs, Joe David, Tony Jojola, John Hauberg, Richard Royal, Tammy Garcia, Joe Feddersen, Brian Jungen, and James Luna.
Biographical / Historical:
Preston Singletary (1963- ) is a Tlingit glass artist in Seattle, Washington.
Originally recorded on 3 memory cards as 8 digital sound files. Duration is 3 hr., 48 min.
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Washington, D.C. Research Center. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate copies requires advance notice.
Peter Howard Selz papers, 1929-2018, bulk 1950-2005. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Funding for the 2014 processing of this collection was provided by the Frederick Hammersley Foundation. Funding for the processing of the 2018 addition was provided by Gerald and Bente Buck.
Video recording of a controversial Native American Public Programs presentation: The Shame-man Meets El Mexican't at the Smithsonian Hotel and Country Club.
Please note that the contents of the collection and the language and terminology used reflect the context and culture of the time of its creation. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology and considered offensive today. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution or Anthropology Archives, but is available in its original form to facilitate research.
Received from Native American Public Programs at the National Museum of Natural History in 2002.
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Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Grace F. Thorpe Collection, Box and Folder Number; National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center, Smithsonian Institution.
The tape is of a lecture given at Baird Auditorium in the National History Building at the Smithsonian Institution. A pamphlet about Luna is included. Related photographs are in NAA Photographic lot 91-26.
Biographical / Historical:
James Luna is a performance artist who won the Bessie Creator Award of the New York Dance and Theater Workshop in 1991. He is a consultant to the Institute of American Indian Art, Santa Fe, and his works have been exhibited at the National Gallery of Canada, Whitney Museum of American Art, and many other placed in the United States. He was brought to Washington in 1992 as part of the American Indian Public Programs of the National Museum of Natural History.