“The glass forms of Latchezar Boyadjiev balance the tangible and the intangible. Evoking the sensual undulations of the female figure and the powerful flow of natural forces, his works are composed in fluid, fragmented planes of color marked by fine shifts in depth, tone and translucency. He works monochromatically and uses rich color and light to describe the sweeping contours of the glass as it reflects and refracts through luminous golden yellows, icy blues, and woozy magentas.” – LewAllen Galleries
Considered one of the most important glass artists working today, Boyadjiev’s oeuvre transcends the field of glass so much so that his ethereal sculptures are simply titled with emotions. His dynamic sculptures reflect depth, dimension, and a new approach to contemporary glass art and design.
Born and raised in Sofia, Bulgaria, Boyadjiev attended the prestigious Academy of Applied Arts in Prague, Czech Republic (formerly Czechoslovakia), under the guidance of Professor Stanislav Libensky, one of the most prominent glass artists of our time and influential source for most glass artists in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. In 1986, just after graduating from the Academy, Boyadjiev defected to the United States.
After settling in California, Boyadjiev worked for more than 10 years in the field of optical glass, using cold working techniques such as cutting, grinding, polishing and laminating to create the optical glass sculpture for which he initially became known. Because there were limits to the size of object he could create by this method, the artist began experimenting in casting as a means to work larger.
The Academy’s strict curriculum of daily drawing and design classes had its intended effect on Boyadjiev. Today, when working on new designs, the artist keeps drawing until something finally strikes him. New designs sometimes take him hours, days or weeks to complete. Once a drawing is satisfactory, a clay model is made with perfectly smooth surfaces and details. Next, a series of positive and negative molds are produced, a time-consuming and detail-oriented process that leads to the last plaster positive that determines the sculpture’s final form. Initially those plaster positives were delivered to the Czech Republic by the artist in person, with the goal of selecting the best glass casting studios and glass colors available. It also gave Boyadjiev the opportunity to work with some old friends to create his new glass sculptures that were cast into yet another mold, and later annealed, partially ground and polished. Currently, he accomplishes most of his work from his California studio.
Boyadjiev’s new and exciting cast glass sculpture was introduced at SOFA Chicago 1997 to enthusiastic response. These dynamic sculptures reflected depth and dimension, as well as a new approach to contemporary glass art and design. Boyadjiev’s works are commissioned and collected extensively both publicly and privately worldwide. Major collections include the Museum of Applied Arts in Prague, the Czech Republic; the Glasmuseum, Ebeltoft, Denmark; the Glasmuseum der Ernsting Stiftung, Germany; the Museum de Alcorcon, Spain; and the White House Collection, Washington, DC., to name a few. At the moment, he is working on a large commission for a hotel lobby in Macao.
Known for their figurative, abstract qualities depicting the human physique and powerful forces of nature, Boyadjiev’s sculpture is often monochromatic in color, using mainly reds, blues, and yellows, complimented by lighting to place emphasis on the piece’s profile. Art critic James Yood wrote: “His forms take on rich volumetric shape, never literally echoing the shapes of the body, but amplifying or deleting them in what all together becomes a kind of three-dimensional caress.”
From sketch books to glassware, lighting or toilets, Zach Puchowitz’s raw aesthetic, in combination with humorous, self-reflective drawings and scribbled thoughts, are inspired by daily life, inner psyche struggles, low-brow art, subculture and guys from the neighborhood. From his Hot Rod Derby Cars to his Punished Head series to The Idiots, The Kennys and Billy B., Puchowitz’s stunning sculpting skills continue to amaze fans and collectors alike.
Even the Corning Museum of Glass (CMOG), Corning, New York, couldn’t resist Puchowitz’s work and recently acquired his Hot Rod Derby Car #2 for its permanent collection. This functional pipe in the form of a hollow, colorless flameworked car features a bald eagle, two conical black and colorless headlights with diamond-patterning, and a rectangular red-, white-, and yellow-striped license plate reading “WOODY” applied to back. The main character is a flameworked rider with rubber boots, exposed midriff, red fabric bandana, black mohawk with red and yellow tips, and the Anarchy symbol on one side of his head.
Currently living and working in Barcelona, Spain, Puchowitz first experienced glassmaking in 1998. He became addicted very quickly and built his first lampworking studio in ‘99 as well as began studying glass at the Tyler School of Art. While learning that “the glass moves when it’s hot,” the artist was able to develop his understanding of the arts and glass as a material. He sharpened his hand skills in flameworking and furnace glass studio processes while developing his signature aesthetic.
After graduating in 2003, Puchowitz spent a year in Burlington, Vermont, as a resident artist at local glass shops. Needing more perspective, he traveled throughout Europe for three months while he grew out his beard and pondered life. He worked alongside with the late Venetian Maestro, ELio Quarisa, as his teaching assistant. Upon returning to his native Philadelphia, and after shaving his face, Puchowitz established his own multiformat glass shop. In 2007, he began transforming the space that would later become Ouchkick.
Since then, Puchowitz has dabbled in different avenues of the conventional glass artist by returning to his Alma mater to present slide lectures and teaching at local glass shops. The artist has exhibited his work at galleries in Philadelphia, NYC, LA, Denver, SOFA Chicago, Scope Miami as well as many other unconventional events and marketplaces, becoming well-known in the subculture of heady art and glass making.
Puchowitz will be throwing down a few weekend workshops in Barcelona. The classes will run from 12 – 8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Workshops include demos, torch time with instruction, glass, etc. Only six seats are available per class: June 11, 12 – Pipemaking 101 workshop; June 25, 26 – Pipemaking 101 workshop; and July 2, 3 – Pro Class –Sculpting. To apply, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put 101 in the subject title and indicate your level of glass experience. Any questions or to find out more details feel free to DM on Instagram @ouchkick. Puchowitz will also teach a workshop in 2023 at CMOG.