Tell us about yourself! (Background, name, location, work, how you began working with glass, etc.)
My name is Saman Kalantari and I was born and grew up in Shiraz ,the sixth-most-populous city of my country and one of the oldest cities of ancient Persia now called Iran. In 2004, I moved to Italy and I have been living in Bolzano in south Tyrol at the northern part of Italy, a mix of Austrian-Italian culture. I work in Museion, the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Bolzano.
What draws you to the material you work with, and why have you chosen the processes that you use in your work?
Honestly I work with different mediums and glass is one of them. I came across glass by accident. In 2005, I entered into a gallery to visit an exhibition which was organized and curated by Vetroricerca. Later I studied glass for two years and let's say it was a turning point for me because I re-discovered glass as an artistic medium. My country has a very rich tradition of glassmaking. If you have visited the Corning Museum of glass you know what I mean. They have pieces of Persian glass which date back to 500 B.C or more. I remember when I was child there was an small town near Shiraz called Meymand and there where lots of glassblowers who used to work there. I guess what keeps me working with glass is the fact that despite it's beauty and potentiality, this medium occupies a very marginal position in the art world. Even the process I use to create my works is nothing more than collecting found objects and recyclable material, such as paper in garbage and transforming them into glass and art work and placing them inside museums, private collections and galleries.
What themes do you pursue in your work?
I try to be a very attentive observer of society and what's happening around me. Themes such as discrimination, taboos from our childhood experiences, the cycle of life and what remains in the margin of a society attract me.
What is your dream project?
Since I use sand as molding material to make my glass works, my dream project would be traveling to different beaches around the world and using the sand from there to create my art works. Another dream project is going to Japan during the cherry blossom season and creating some projects that I have in mind there.
If you weren't working in this field, what career would you choose?
I have a background as a ceramic artist and potter. I had my own home studio in Iran for almost 10 years. I would be more than happy to work with clay again. Other choices are working as an archeologist or having a job which allows me to be with horses.
Why are you a member of GAS?
For me making art is a very individualist practice. Creating artworks is an intimate activity. I don't like to create ghettos of artists or artisans inside the art world, but being a GAS member gave me the chance to connect myself to wonderful people inside that community. In 2014, I gave a Lec-Mo at the GAS Conference in Chicago. I also won the TAG Grant in 2015, thanks to being a member of GAS.
See more of Saman's work here.