For two decades David's creative energies primarily found an outlet in music, but a blowpipe and furnace have firmly replaced his guitar and amp. A former corporate marketing professional, a glassblowing class in 2001 ignited such a passion that he transitioned his professional career from the software world to full-time glass artist.
David has been guest artist at the Corning Museum of Glass and studied at Pilchuck Glass School, founded by Dale Chihuly and John & Anne Hauberg in Stanwood, Washington. In 2010, David was selected as Artist in Residence in Seto City, Japan, spending a month lecturing, demonstrating his work through an award from the Seto City Art and Cultural Foundation. Primarily self-taught, David grew his skills through experimentation informed by observing talented local artists and a few visits with Afro Celotto, maestro and former assistant to Lino Tagliapietra from Murano, Italy. David has received awards for his work including an artistic merit scholarship for a class at Pilchuck. His book David Patchen, Glass is in the permanent collection of the Rakow Library at the Corning Museum of Glass and the Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Centro Studi del Vetro (Glass Study Center Library) in Venice, Italy. David is actively involved in the glass arts community as Chairman Emeritus of the Board of Directors at Public Glass (San Francisco's center for glass art), member of the Pilchuck Leadership Council and former member of the Board of Directors, Glass Alliance of Northern California.
David maintains a private studio within Public Glass where he creates his work. He enjoys and finds inspiration in international travel, the marine environment, science, nature and architecture.
David's work is known for its intense colors, intricate detail and meticulous craftsmanship, is in numerous private collections, museums and is exhibited internationally. Born and raised in New York, David Patchen now resides in San Francisco. When asked, David has this to say about his work:
"I find glass as seductive as it is challenging. As a particularly unforgiving medium, an artist has endless creative opportunities to design for its unique properties--the only limitations are their imagination and skill in working with the material. I've always been captivated by how one can use this enigmatic material to achieve virtually any form, hold elements in suspension, and achieve great detail or soft abstraction. Its flexibility as a medium is matched by the difficulty it presents in using it to execute precise work.
My current work is an intensive exploration of patterns, colors and transparency created through multi-layered cane and murrine (colored rods and patterned cross-sections of glass). While varied in composition and design, I most often create work within a series of graceful forms that I consider three dimensional canvases. The diversity in my compositions reflects my desire to constantly experiment and explore a variety of ideas simultaneously. Some themes in my work include windows into or through a piece, things hidden & revealed and extreme detail. Colors in contrasting and/or complimentary tertiary tones woven into complex patterns challenge expectations of the amount of detail glass can carry and its place in the art world. My influences include textiles, ethnically distinct colors and shapes as well as the marine environment.
Creating my work begins with meticulous planning and designing of colors and patterns. After I pull the cane and murrine, I carefully compose these elements to design the final work, all days prior to blowing it. I enjoy this process of thoughtful creativity and the contrasting intensity of executing work in the hotshop, where the limited window to shape molten glass requires precision and urgency. The dual challenge of designing and executing complex work satisfies both the artist and the craftsman in me and I continually find it exciting to create a piece I've poured days over, watching it come to life in the fire."
David's work can be viewed in the Seto City Art Museum in Japan, the Imagine Museum in St. Petersburg, FL, the Peninsula Hotel in Paris, the Crown Plaza in Shanghai, and on cruise ships owned by Regent, Norwegian and Royal Carribean. Additionally, his work can be found in the private collections of Elton John, Mark Parker (CEO of Nike), Herb Kelleher (Founder of Southwest Airlines), George Halvorson (CEO of Kaiser) and many others.