Untitled (Kilt Series 06)

2006

Object

Artist

Tony Jojola, Isleta, American, 1958-
Born: New Mexico
Work Locations: Isleta pueblo

Culture

  • Isleta

Object Info

Object: vase
Not currently on view
Object ID: C6569316-47C5-474C-90D3-38E417277604

Medium/Technique

glass

Credit

The Genevieve D. Searle Fund of the Denver Foundation
Artwork(s) © copyright the original artist. All rights reserved.

About

About the Artist

Tony Jojola (Ho-ho-la) is one of the most innovative glass artists in the United States. He was born in Isleta Pueblo in New Mexico in 1958 and grew up surrounded by artists. His grandfather and father were silversmiths and his grandmother was a potter. Jojola first learned glassblowing techniques at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, and then studied with internationally renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly at Pilchuck Glass School. After achieving career success, Jojola founded the Taos Glass Arts and Education program, which teaches young people how to express themselves in glass.

As more Pueblo artists learn to work in glass, the question of what is “traditional” comes up. Jojola looks at it this way: “Lots of people think silver is a traditional Native American medium, but it wasn’t in the beginning.”

What Inspired It

Jojola’s family and cultural background have significantly influenced his work. He learned pottery making from his grandmother and continues to shape traditional forms, using glass instead of clay. “I feel that glass relates to clay very strongly,” he says. “To me, glass is like clay you can’t touch.” Jojola also honors his family by using his grandfather’s silver jewelry stamps on some of his glass vessels.

Jojola's time at the Pilchuck Glass School and exposure to artists like Vincent van Gogh also play a pivotal role in the work he creates. “I continue to rely on my culture for inspiration, but I want to be known as a contemporary artist, an innovator,” Jojola says.

Shape
Shape

The shape of Untitled (Kilt Series 06) is reminiscent of traditional Isleta Pueblo jars like the one shown at left.

Color
Color

Jojola is known for his use of bright, distinctive colors, like this lime green with accents of red and black. “I love color, I love Van Gogh, but those paintings are not what inspired me. The colors I love are the ones we have in the world of New Mexico,” he says.

Red and Black Lines
Red and Black Lines

Working from drawings, Jojola applies colored threads of glass with a hot torch while an assistant holds the piece steady. Jojola employs several skilled assistants because the glassblowing process requires him to move quickly and leaves little room for error.

Sparkly Surface
Sparkly Surface

Jojola rolls or dips the glass in silver dust to create a sparkly surface.

The Red Beads
The Red Beads

Jojola used Hubbell beads, originally sold at the Hubbell Trading Post in the late 1880s and 1890s, to embellish this vessel. The owner and founder of the trading post most likely bought the beads from Czech beadmakers and resold them to Indian artists. We can assume that Jojola bought or collected these beads to use in his art.

Teaching Resources

This interview with Tony Jojola talks about how his technique and style is influenced by his heritage.

Funding for object education resources provided by a grant from the Morgridge Family Foundation. Additional funding provided by the William Randolph Hearst Endowment for Education Programs, and Xcel Energy Foundation. We thank our colleagues at the University of Denver Morgridge College of Education.

The images on this page are intended for classroom use only and may not be reproduced for other reasons without the permission of the Denver Art Museum. This object may not currently be on display at the museum.