Meet the Artist: Jim Callantine
By Amber Ford
Long time resident and glass artist, Jim Callantine, has had his hands in just about all types of art over the last thirty years. Beginning his artistic journey learning how to create art with watercolors at a senior center in Gladstone, Callantine has honed in on his craft and is now a proficient and talented glass artist.
“I began with stained glass and then realized how much more I enjoyed working with fuse glass because of how unique it comes out,” Callantine said. “It’s really amazing to see all of the colors melt together and create art that resembles small volcanoes popping through the glass,” Callantine added.
Over the years, Callantine has had many unique opportunities to create art, but nothing compares to the love he has for working with high fire art; a technique which involves setting the temperature on his at-home kiln to 1700 degrees fahrenheit. Callantine’s work involves layering different pieces of glass, both bright colors and clear, to create the melting effect which gives his glass work a unique and vibrant touch.
A Vietnam veteran and former employee of the city of Portland, Callantine has always preferred working with his hands. “I worked for the city of Portland building infrastructure maps, but I’ve always enjoyed more physical labor,” Callantine said. “Working with my hands has helped me become more artistic in terms of working with my glass,” Callantine added.
Living on the mountain has given Callantine a plethora of inspiration when he prepares glass colors and sizes for his projects. “I have an old digital camera that I use to take photos for inspiration,” Callantine said. “Taking pictures of waterfalls, especially the smaller ones off the road on Lolo Pass, really do provide inspiration as to what and how I want to create my next glass piece,” Callantine added. While living on the mountain provides a great deal of the inspiration needed to create the high fire glass art, Callantine is also inspired by other artists as well. Well-known artists such as Salvador Dali and Frida Kahlo have given Callantine the edge and creative education he has needed over the years when it comes to all of the art forms he has tried, but it is glass artist Linda Humphrey who has truly helped Callantine fine tune his own glass art. “She [Humphrey] has this amazing ability to make her glass work look like a charcoal drawing, but really it’s all done with glass powders,” Callantine said.
When Callantine is not creating high fire art in his at-home kiln, he snowbirds down to his second home in Barra de Navidad, Mexico where he spends a majority of his time reading, working on his tan (if you know Callantine you know this is a very important hobby), visiting with friends and searching for new art to bring back such as silver jewelry. Callantine has also been working on other forms of art while south in the winter. “The last time I was in Mexico I took a pottery and acrylics class,” Callantine said. “I’m really enjoying learning different variations of art and plan to do an acrylic mural in my home in Mexico,” Callantine added.
For more information on how to purchase Callantine’s glass art email jimCallantine@yahoo.com.