Chihuly’s famous glasswork developed through his education and his hands on experience in his careers. In 1068, he began his work at the Vennini glass factory in Venice, Italy on a Fulbright scholarship. While there, Chihuly’s glass technique was influenced be the team approach to glass blowing he took part in. In the United Sates, most glass blowers worked alone which limited the potential creativity and scale of their work. Chihuly was able to appreciate the bigger picture, and later in his career he would use this knowledge to bring artists together and expand the possibilities of what he was able to accomplish artistically. After a 1979 shoulder injury, Chihuly was no longer able to blow glass himself and his appreciation of the team dynamic became more important than ever since he became forced to use others for the technical process and step back himself. This ultimately allowed Chihuly to focus on the finished artistic product only instead of the process and create more abstract and interesting artistic designs. This has lent focus and an artistic awareness to the Dale Chihuly art famous today.
Today, Chihuly glass is showcased in museum collections all over the world as a part of more than 200 collections. Chihuly glass can also be seen outside of the museum environment as a part of many of his many non-museum displays including commercial displays in retail centers, corporate buildings, hospitals, and association headquarter. The most famous of these is perhaps the large and extravagant display at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, NC. In addition to his famous glass work, Chihuly paintings and large glass installations have also gained his widespread critical appreciation. Chihuly’s work in all mediums remains true to his avant guard style and through an appreciation and keen understanding of the three dimensions world.
Dale Chihuly artwork is diverse due to his wide ranging artistic education that has directly shaped his artistic style. Many pieces of Chihuly glass feature a weaving technique that he credits to his early education in interior design. He also attributes his three dimensional appreciation and manipulation of space to his early interior design education. Not able to blow the glass himself any longer, he relies on drawings and paintings to show his team of glassblowers what he needs done and to help everyone conceptualize how the finished product will work. His love and skill of painting have propelled Dale Chihuly paintings to worldwide fame even though it is not his primary or most famous medium. Most recently, his love of botany and greenhouses have prompted him to create a “Glass House” in his home state of Washington. Dale Chihuly is a multi-talented artist whose unique design sense and avant guard aesthetic have propelled him to extraordinary success and critical acclaim.