Self-taught artist Ben Young creates stunning sculptures of ocean waves and watery landscapes by layering multiple sheets of hand-cut glass. Young, who also surfs and builds boats professionally, is inspired by his upbringing in New Zealand’s beautiful Bay of Plenty. His affinity for the sea is clear in his extraordinary glass works, which portray both the gentle tranquility and the powerful force of Mother Nature’s tides.
Although the extreme precision and detail of his sculptures lead many people to assume that he uses high-tech machinery to build his pieces, Young actually does everything manually, making the end results even more incredible. After a complex planning phase, the artist sketches his designs, constructs models, hand-cuts sheets of glass, and then laminates layer upon layer to create gorgeous, organic forms. Young’s use of glass allows him to portray many different elements of his conceptual ideas:
“I love watching the two-dimensional shapes evolve into three-dimensional creations and the different way the light plays inside the glass. I love the liquid qualities the glass brings with it. It enables me to play with lighting and watch the glass react,” he says. “When lit from beneath, the light reflects and gives off the illusion of the piece being brought to life. I hope viewers might imagine the work as something ‘living’ that creates the illusion of space, movement, depth and sense of spatial being. I like to play with the irony between the glass being a solid material and how I can form such natural and organic shapes.”