Born in 1963 in San Francisco, Preston Singletary is an artist of Tlingit cultural heritage. His glass forms have established him as one of the most celebrated Northwest Coast artists of his generation. Singletary marries European glass blowing traditions to those of his Tlingit heritage, utilizing layering and etching techniques to create sculptures that are informed by the stories and images of Tlingit tradition and art. These traditions are revitalized and carried forward through this material, from Singletary:
"I've come to see that glass brings another dimension to indigenous art. The artistic perspective of indigenous people reflects a unique and vital visual language which has connections to the ancient codes and symbols of the land, and this interaction has informed and inspired my own work…My work with glass transforms the notion that Native artists are only best when traditional materials are used. It has helped advocate on the behalf of all indigenous people—affirming that we are still here—that that we are declaring who we are through our art in connection to
Singletary was educated at the Pilchuck Glass School and studied with Lino Tagliapietra, Cecco Ongaro, Benjamin Moore, Dorit Brand, Judy Hill and Dan Dailey. Singletary has taught, lectured and exhibited internationally since 1989. Since this time he has received many honours and awards for his work, recently including, the Rakow Commission from the Corning Museum of Glass, as well as the Mayor's Award for Diversified Arts in Indian Art NW in Portland, Oregon. Singletary also enjoys collaborations and has worked with other First Nations, Maori, Hawaiian and Australian aboriginal groups in producing pieces and exhibits.
His works can be found in many collections and museums internationally including The British Museum (London, UK), The Museum of Fine Arts (Boston, MA), The Seattle Art Museum (Seattle WA), the Corning Museum of Glass (Corning, NY), the Mint Museum of Art and Design (Charlotte, NC), the Heard Museum (Phoenix, AZ), and the Smithsonian Institution (Washington, DC). In 2009, the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, WA, launched a major mid-career survey of his work, entitled Preston Singletary: Echoes, Fire, and Shadows. This exhibition featured Clan House, his largest commission to date, and traveled to venues across North America.