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Storytelling on the Cosmic Clock

3/30/16

Shea Stanfield
Arts Columnist

Jason Chakravarty is a local mixed media “object maker” from, and back again to the Phoenix area. I would prefer to think of Jason as a “storyteller on the cosmic clock,” literally “what goes around, comes around” in the body of Jason’s masterful glass sculptures.

Born in Dallas, TX, Jason reflects his family moved around Texas before arriving in Arizona, specifically, the “valley of the sun” when he was ten. Jason remembers his time at Dobson High School, in Mesa, as a significant turning point in what he thought he was going to do with the rest of his life. “A couple of my friends, Brandon and Justin, dragged me into their ceramics class one day and I was hooked!” 

Jason went on to enroll in additional art classes in photography, drawing, jewelry, ceramics, and bronze casting. Committed to a life making art as a visual storyteller, Jason attended Mesa Community College, where he studied ceramics with David Bradley. During one summer, while attending MCC, Jason took a summer workshop with Bradley involving travel to central Mexico, where the group made clay and glazes. Eventually, Jason then moved north, declaring himself a ceramics major, at Northern Arizona University; here, he spent the next two years honing his skills.

Alas, working and growing one’s craft has its “ah-ha” moments. For Jason, it was realizing, “the plethora of materials, finishes, and techniques I could use in Sculpture.” This awakening transported him back to the Valley, declaring himself a Sculpture major and continuing his degree program at Arizona State University. While attending ASU, Jason encountered the magic and mystery of combining neon and glass, with his “grist for the mill,” in professor Jim White. Professor White was a “tough love” kind of mentor, moving Jason to delve deeper into his own ideas, expressions, and techniques. “I inherited life-changing habits from Jim and the curriculum at ASU, which persistently insisted students learn the profession of “being” an artist.” No worse for the wear and much wiser, Jason completed his Bachelors of Fine Arts at ASU and took the following two years off by working at Grahams Neon in Mesa. During this time, he began assembling his portfolio for application to graduate school. Jason’s efforts paid off, presenting him with an opportunity to attend California State University in Fullerton, CA for his graduate studies. Although a declared Sculpture major, now much of Jason’s focus turned to glass blowing and casting.

Today, home again, Jason has a small home in downtown Phoenix with a small studio in back. He also works his glass magic a few days a week, around the corner, at Circle 6 Studios, owned by John Longo. Jason’s creations are inspired by “observations of our culture, how we communicate and relate in our relationships. In turn, how relationships evolve, change, grow, and even digress in response to a rapidly unfurling technological world.” Jason’s work is on exhibit at galleries such as Riley, Vetri, Piece, Kulvato, Duncan McClellan, Corning Penland, Habatat, Circle 6, and Flame Run. He regularly teaches workshops at Circle 6 Studio and residences across the U.S.

To stay “refreshed,” Jason travels extensively round the country attending gallery openings receptions, workshops, and residencies. He loves to drive, gathering inspiration from local landscapes and the people he encounters on the way. Jason maintains an extensive Web site that includes a broad perspective of his thought-provoking sculptures, commission installations, collaborative work with other artists, and his busy schedule of gallery and teaching engagements. To view all and to contact Jason Chakravarty visit www.jasonchakravarty.com and meet Jason at the First Friday Art Walk in Phoenix from 6-9 at Circle 6 Gallery in April and May.

Contact arts columnist Shea Stanfield at flowingquill@yahoo.com.