Self-taught artist Ben Young’s latest collection of ocean-inspired glass sculptures is as stunning as ever. Working for over 15 years, his creations continue to capture the beauty of the clear-blue ocean—a constant source of inspiration ever since growing up in the tranquil Bay of Plenty, on the northern coast of New Zealand.
Each piece starts as a 2D drawing and is then meticulously assembled using layers of hand-cut, translucent glass sheets, laid onto concrete rock formations. “Sometimes my starting point changes dramatically as I have to find a way to layer the glass to create certain shapes,” Young admits. The glass layers are then laminated to create a solid, smooth surface that looks like a snapshot of the ocean, caught in time. “I like to play with the irony between the glass being a solid material and how I can form such natural and organic shapes,” explains Young.
Often featuring miniature brass figurines of sail boats and explorers, Young’s work evokes stories of oceanic adventures. In his latest series, brass lighthouses look out from icy glaciers, a palm tree stands on its own concrete island, and ships sail across the rippling surface of the ocean.
Some of Young’s newer pieces are set within geometric, stainless steel bases, contrasting against the organic, nature-inspired shapes. As well as differing textures and shapes, Young also incorporates light into his sculptures. When a piece is lit, the glass-cut waves mimic a glistening, sun-lit ocean surface, and glaciers below the surface illuminate, revealing their ice-like texture. He explains, “When lit from beneath, the light reflects and gives off the illusion of the piece being brought to life.”