The Jack Storms Process: How He Makes Exquisite Optical Glass Art

The magical, intricate glass sculptures created by artist Jack Storms are both dazzling and puzzling at first sight. How can light reflect in the interior of the glass in such intricate patterns, and how can glass be carved in such a way while still preserving its structural integrity?

While true understanding of this art form takes decades to master, we’ll do our best to unravel the mysteries of optical glass art and the Jack Storms process of sculpture-making. Don’t forget to explore the Jack Storms collection in our online gallery, or in person at Marcus Ashley Gallery.

What Is Optical Glass Art?

Optical glass art is a remarkably unique sculpture medium. Unlike traditional glass art, in the Jack Storms process, there is no heat involved. The cold glass process includes only cutting, polishing, and laminating the glass.

The sculptures start with a large block of lead crystal. Lead crystal is a kind of glass that contains at least 24% lead oxide. Lead crystal has superior shine and brilliance when cut, and is often found in fine antique glassware made before lead was commonly known to be toxic for drinking. Without heat, lead crystal is exceptionally difficult to work with.

To create his pieces, Jack Storms slices the lead crystal in geometric patterns. Then, he inserts slivers of dichroic glass with intense precision into the slices, carefully gluing and sealing them into place with high-end epoxy. Dichroic glass is a coated, iridescent material that shifts colors depending on the view angle, and has been used for a startling visual effect in glasswork for centuries.

Light passes through the lead crystal differently than the dichroic glass. The Jack Storms process involves carefully paying attention to the refractive index: the rate at which light passes through the material. The epoxy shares the same refractive index as the dichroic glass, but not the lead crystal. By paying attention to this scientific aspect, Jack Storms can create illusions of depth within the glass itself, as if elements are suspended within the glass.

The resulting piece of optical glass art has to be seen to be believed. The light plays off of the hundreds of surfaces in a dazzling display of prismatic effects, creating what resembles a sparkling kaleidoscope. The effect is not chaotic; it is startlingly perfect and geometric, almost alien. Indeed, two of Jack Storms’ art pieces were used in the movie Guardians of the Galaxy in the background of an alien planet scene!

How Unique is the Jack Storms Process?

Jack Storms is one of only three prominent cold glass craftsmen in the world. Why? Cold glass, as the process is also known, is an extremely difficult craft to master and requires specialized tools that few people have access to.

Additionally, Jack Storms’ process can be very dangerous. Storms lost sight in his right eye after a piece of glass flew off the lathe while working. The accident took him away from his craft for almost a year, but he came back to it with renewed vigor, letting nothing stop him from pursuing his passion.

Each of his optical glass art pieces takes around 8 to 18 weeks to complete — sometimes years. The tolerance and precision required, as well as the skill and experience, makes each piece a daunting and time-consuming challenge. There are no shortcuts with this work: each individual lamination is a laborious task that requires intense focus and patience.

The work is highly tactical and mathematical, but it is not without artistic spirit and passion. Storms takes great care to incorporate famous art ratios found in nature, including the Fibonacci sequence. Many of Storms’ finest pieces are inspired by his greatest loves in life, his wife and son, and he pours his love for them into all his work.

Experience Jack Storms Art In Person at Marcus Ashley Gallery

Marcus Ashley Gallery is very proud to host several of Jack Storms’ most stunning optical glass creations. You can come see them for yourself in our premier gallery in South Lake Tahoe, where we feature some of the most recognizable contemporary artists of the 21st century.

We strive to make both our online gallery and our physical location a welcoming, inspiring experience. If you have any questions about purchasing Jack Storms optical glass art for your collection, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our skilled art consultants.

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The Benefits of Fine Art Consulting for Collectors

An art consultant has a unique job in the art world, and it’s much more varied and nuanced than people might think. Not only does this job require years of education and experience, but it also requires the consultant to make personal, long-standing connections with both their clients, the artists, and industry professionals. 

Art buying, preserving, and collecting is infinitely easier when you consider art consulting services. Consultants have knowledge that encompasses both the personal, intangible nature of artwork as well as the technicalities of collecting, including conservation and insurance policies. 

At Marcus Ashley Gallery, we’re more than familiar with the nuances of art collecting and consulting, and we are happy to walk you through the benefits of hiring an art consultant for your collection. 

Here are four essential services that fine art consulting can bring to your personal or professional collection.

1: Sourcing Rare or Niche Artwork

An art consultant can offer you the resources, relationships, and industry connections to help source artwork that an average collector will almost certainly not have.

When you’re interested in collecting rare artwork from an elusive or deceased artist, the journey doesn’t have to feel as arduous as an Indiana Jones adventure. You simply need to contact the people with the right contacts who can find the right leads. 

2: Insurance and Valuation Knowledge

Group of people at a gallery working together on client projects

Fine artwork is valuable according to both the collectors with a personal connection to it and insurance companies. Having an insurance policy for your collection is critical for both your finances and your collection’s integrity.

Accidents happen. Just as in the case with your home, your vehicle, or any other valuables you may have, you need to protect your art collection against the unexpected. Any art consulting service should offer in-depth knowledge of art insurance policies and should be able to help point you in the right direction to the correct policies for your unique collection.

Furthermore, your artwork should come with a Certificate of Replacement Value not just for insurance purposes, but for planning for your future. Fine art consulting can help you accurately evaluate your artwork for purposes such as estate planning or inventory management, for example.

3: Conservation Knowledge

A major part of keeping a collection is preserving your artwork. If you plan on displaying your artwork for a personal or public collection, you need to protect it as best as you possibly can. Displaying artwork safely is not often intuitive, and it’s not just as simple as purchasing an expensive frame. Materials can experience chemical reactions or require a certain air quality or light exposure in order to last as long as they can.

Working with an expert helps give you the historical and technical knowledge to know how to preserve rare and/or fragile pieces of artwork. An art consultant can also provide referrals and recommendations to technical specialists if you want to have additional support for preserving your collection.

4: Defining Your Brand Image and/or Personal Style

Over time, an art consultant will familiarize themselves with your preferred art style and what captures your imagination. If you develop a long-standing connection, they will be able to discover captivating artwork that you may never have thought to discover yourself. 

It’s also a good choice to opt for fine art consulting services for both practical and ideological reasons. If you’re looking to further your art collection and build your estate with art that inspires generations and supports hardworking creatives, an art consultant is an invaluable resource to you. 

Furthermore, if you’re collecting artwork to decorate an office or other commercial or retail space, you will need to choose the art carefully that complements your brand’s interior aesthetic and company messaging. Art consulting can help you source artwork that will tell your brand’s story.

No matter why you’re building your art collection, having someone by your side who specializes in the work is advantageous. If you’d like to contact a consultant to learn more about gallery services, then we encourage you to reach out to our team at Marcus Ashley Gallery.

Marcus Ashley’s Guide to Buying Original Art Online

Whether you’ve envisioned an ideal piece of original artwork for your living space or you’re not even sure how to start looking for one, there’s a lot you need to know about buying original art online. The world of art collecting is vast and fraught with pitfalls, but with this guide, it doesn’t have to be complicated. 

Our knowledgeable art consultants have decades of experience finding and displaying original artwork for homes and collections around the world. 

This Marcus Ashley Gallery guide is here for you as a resource, providing guidance as a learning tool and great checklist to ensure you have all of the essential information for buying art online.

1: Determine Your Artwork’s Authenticity

If you’ve been on the internet for any period of time, you should know that just because something claims to be true doesn’t mean it really is (or that it’s legally obligated to be). It serves that the primary concern most collectors have when buying original art online is determining its authenticity.

The internet is far more regulated nowadays than it once was. There are ways to ensure your artwork is an authentic original without having to see it in person. Here’s how:

  • Require a Certificate of Authenticity (CoA) AND a Certificate of Replacement Value. A CoA will verify the legitimacy of the artwork. In some states, these are required by law. A Certificate of Replacement Value will ensure its worth for insurance purposes, further legitimizing the artwork. 
  • Require an artist signature. If your artwork is unsigned, an appraiser cannot begin to validate it. Without a verifiable signature, it could be as worthless as a poster.
  • Look for free returns. A dealer who can guarantee authenticity should also guarantee free returns in case of dissatisfaction. 
  • If possible, consider a private showing. If you want to learn how to buy and where to buy original art online, you are likely not close enough to the artwork for this to be an option. Just know that a private home viewing is a likely possibility if you live close enough to the seller in question.
    • Note that if you are not local, our art consultants can meet with you virtually via a video call. We will look over artwork together on this call, offer our insights on what we would recommend, and also help you select your custom framing.

2: Hire an Art Consultant

This may seem like a daunting amount of research for a beginning collector, especially if you have limited prior knowledge or experience buying original art online.

That’s where an art consultant comes in. A consultant will have the expertise and knowledge you need to make educated decisions regarding sourcing artwork, procuring it, acquiring insurance policies, and more. Perhaps most importantly, they will have the historical and technical knowledge regarding fine artwork that will allow you to verify the worth and authenticity of artwork beyond its intrinsic value. 

Any experienced collector will proclaim the importance of a skilled, experienced art consultant. If you’re in doubt when learning how to buy and where to buy original art online, trust the professionals whose job it is to make these decisions.

3: Perform the Necessary Due Diligence, and Be Skeptical of Low Prices

Scams exist. Forgeries exist. It’s an unfortunate truth in the art world, and it’s existed for centuries. In the world of online art collecting, these problems multiply. While the fault of selling fake originals ultimately comes down to the seller, buyers do have a certain legal and personal responsibility to protect themselves. Don’t neglect to perform due diligence and consult experts when learning how to buy art online. 

Furthermore, fine art is valuable, and not just for its aesthetic appearance. You’re paying for the skill and expertise of the artist, the often dozens of hours of labor they put into the work, and their own creative mind, which is irreplaceable and invaluable. Hence, if the price of original art online is too good to be true, it probably is, unless you find a seller who is totally unaware of the value of their piece. Always have a healthy level of skepticism when it comes to low online prices. 

4: Find a Seller and/or Gallery with a Longstanding Reputation

Image of a gallery wall at Marcus Ashley Gallery in South Lake Tahoe

As with making any purchase online, a key technique for buying original art online is to look at the reputation and experience of the seller via third-party accounts. Look for unbiased reviewers on sites like Yelp or their Google page. 

Your best bet is purchasing art from a gallery that has been trusted by professionals and collectors for decades, such as Marcus Ashley Gallery. With a long-standing reputation as a trusted destination for fine art, you can trust our online gallery for premier service and consultation.

Buying original art online is simple with the help of the knowledgeable staff at our gallery. Contact us with any questions. We’re here to help!