Meet the Makers: Stone + Glass Sculptor Otto Rigan
In this Meet the Makers blog series, we will feature an artist that, quite simply, makes something. Drawing inspiration from custom works handcrafted in various media, we travel beyond the pieces by diving into the minds of the creative makers themselves.
Today, we feature our interview with sculptor Otto Rigan. Otto’s work traditionally pairs stone with glass, resulting in works that seem to defy both scale and engineering.
GPI Design: What (3) words best describe your work?
Otto Rigan: Light-Refractive – Current – yet Timeless
GPI: What compels you to create with this particular medium?
Rigan: Typically I work with a palette consisting of stone and glass. However, I use a range of natural cleft stones, and the use of glass or other reflective materials are chosen for their ability to manipulate light. Stone is dense, heavy and timeless. Glass is density’s counterpoint, being light, transparent, and tenuous.
GPI: What is your biggest constraint in the creative process?
Rigan: Working on a large scale with weight requires substantial tooling and material management. So it is difficult to be spontaneous and prolific. My materials also require a lot of labor in production, and costs limit me to how many speculative or explorative impulses I can pursue. Commission work underwrites my studio work.
GPI: What would your 5 year old former self say about your work now? And what do you hope your future 90 year old self will say about your current work?
Rigan: My 5 year old self lived in a private, quiet world where drawing and other intimacies only made sense. However, my 11 year old self would have seen what I’m doing now as in line with what life had in store. Since my father is 94, there is a good chance that I’ll look back as a 90 year old. I hope that by that time I won’t be so self-critical that I’ve not yet done enough. That said, I do think that I’ll see my current work as a new starting point, since I’m currently exploring new materials and and multiple directions.
GPI: What other maker would you most like to collaborate with?
Rigan: There are a handful of architects and landscape architects with whom I’d love to collaborate. I like context, but that comes with opportunities offered, not invented. Also, I’d like to collaborate, on an experimental level, with optical scientists. With them I’d enjoy finding ways to create ‘light’ events that exist without an object. For instance, how would one recreate a “sun dog” that permanently suspends over a public space?
GPI: What do you think the future of creation/creativity holds (for you, and the artistic world as a whole)?
Rigan: The future? I’ve started designing furniture and resumed painting, my first skill. Those pursuits coupled with decades of working in scale make for a “anything can happen” scenario. Only thing I know for sure is that retirement doesn’t compute, and I will keep creating no matter the material of format.
What does your work space look like right now? Send us a selfie of you in your creative arena!
Many thanks to Otto Rigan for the insight into his craft. Stay tuned to our next Meet the Makers interview coming up in two weeks! The interviews will publish every other Tuesday throughout the remainder of the year, focusing on a wide variety of makers, which has us truly redefining what it means to create.
View this maker’s work: Otto Rigan Studio