I went to the Chihuly exhibit at the Denver Botanic Gardens recently and it was absolutely breathtaking! I loved the way the gorgeous glass pieces melted into the natural surroundings, mimicking stalks of grass, tropical birds, gathering bubbles, or (much to my chagrin) snakes. There seemed to be a symbiotic relationship between the garden and the glass, each enhancing the beauty of the other.I wondered about the artist, Dale Chihuly. How did he come up with his art? What was his process? Did his work, his vision, receive criticism for being expensive to produce? But it turns out there’s an even more interesting debate at the center of Chihuly’s art.
You see, in 1976 Chihuly was in a car accident that left him blind in one eye (hence his trademark eye-patch) and due to a separate accident, he lost the use of one arm. He doesn’t actually create his pieces anymore, he physically can’t. Instead, he has a team of glass blowers that he directs. Since he’s not actually producing his own creations, is Chihuly an artist?