Feature Artist preview: Jake Zollie Harper
We recently met up with Chalk It Up Feature Artist Jake Zollie Harper of Zollie Glass Studio, a local workshop where you can find an array of his gorgeously hand-blown items such drinking glasses, Christmas ornaments, and an octopus figurine—to Harper’s Airborne spores, a collaborative effort with artist Reagan Johns. We spoke with Harper about glass blowing, San Antonio, and Chalk It Up 2012.
Artpace: Are you a San Antonio native?
Jake Zollie Harper: Yes I am. I actually moved around quite a bit when I was younger working at different glass shops, but quickly realized that I missed and loved San Antonio and wanted to come back. I had lots of friends in Austin trying to convince me to move there, but I like SA. I like it as a community. Considering the size of this city and everything going on here, it still feels small and community-driven.
Artpace: Do you dream about glass blowing?
Harper: I do! More so in the beginning when I first started blowing glass. I did not have a lot of outside influences and would dream about techniques or ways to do things and then I would try them the next day, and they would work! I also have nightmares.
Artpace: This is your first time participating as an a Chalk It Up artist, correct?
Harper: As a chalk artist, yes. Last year I was an assistant to Reagan Johns for [Kidzone creative project] Chalka Khan, but that was his Chalk It Up project. This is my first year as a Feature Artist.
Artpace: What do you like best about Chalk It Up?
Harper: I think Chalk It Up is a really fun event and believe it is important for kids to be exposed to and get hands-on with art. In that respect I think it is cool, plus it forces me to do something different. I work in three dimensions with a very technical medium. To create something two-dimensional in the public eye is not something that I would normally do.
Artpace: As an artist whose primary medium is glass, how do you plan to execute a piece that incorporates another medium that glass is typically resilient to, such as chalk?
Harper: Yes, I think it is a totally different ball game than glass. Obviously, a lot of inspiration from what I do with glass will be reflected in the work I create at Chalk It Up. I have been trying to brainstorm ideas of incorporating what I do here in my studio with glass with what I might do in my work at Chalk It Up. I have a couple of ways I am leaning: one is a chalk piece, another is some kind of a glass device. I am not sure, yet. You will have to see what I end up creating on Houston Street on October 13.
Artpace: How would you like guests at Chalk It Up this year to react to your work?
Harper: Well, of course, like any artist, I would like people to enjoy my work. I really want people to remember it and take something home with them—more importantly, for kids to see something they like and maybe be inspired to try something similar on their own and on their own scale.
Artpace’s 9th Annual Chalk It Up festival takes place on downtown Houston Street on Saturday, October 13, 2012. This free, family-friendly event that promotes the importance of art education and proudly exhibits San Antonio’s creative vivacity by providing hands-on activities led by professional art educators, as well as interactions with contemporary artists. Our Showcase and Feature artists are always selected locally—they’re some of the city’s best, and play a prominent role in the success and enjoyment of Chalk It Up. Artpace remains passionate about giving people an opportunity to explore their relationship with not only contemporary art, but their hometown community. Chalk It Up 2012 is made possible by presenting sponsor Argo Group.
Last year, more than 18,500 people joined us on Houston Street! We’re expecting even more this year, of course. And while the entire event is free and open to the public, Chalk It Up wouldn’t be possible without the generous support of our sponsors and volunteers. Please consider contributing to the honorarium fund we’ve set up on Kickstarter to support our contemporary artists’ chalky creations. We need your help to reach our $2,000 goal by September 28. Pledges begin at just $1, but backers who pledge $25 or more will receive some fun incentives.