“Simplicity and completion are the most important elements of my work. Anyone can make something simple seem complex; it is taking the complex and translating it into the simplest form that inspires me. I want the viewer to walk away settled, feeling the art has a sense of completion.”
Art has always been J.P.’s greatest passion. He first picked up a glassblowing pipe in 1991 during Introduction to Glassblowing as a junior at Punahou School, a preparatory school in Honolulu, Hawai’i. Little did he know the class would open the door to a medium he longed to explore the rest of his life.
Throughout that first class he was constantly pushing ahead of the class–itching to try new ideas. His enthusiasm prompted his professor and dean, Hugh Jenkins, to encourage J.P. to pursue glass art in both college and as a career. He was accepted to Alfred University’s School of Art and Design program in New York, his first choice as a college to study glass art.
At Alfred, he majored in Fine Art with an emphasis on glass. The study of glass art at Alfred was more conceptual than his previous technical experience at Punahou. Alfred was an opportunity to create objects based on his ideas.
During college summer breaks, J.P. attended Pilchuck Glass School in Stanwood, Washington where he met incredible people in the art world who became friends, colleagues and mentors. During the summer of 1993, Martin Blank introduced J.P. to Seattle glass artist, Dale Chihuly.
Chihuly hired J.P. on the spot as a hot shop employee, and, following his Alfred University graduation, Chihuly Studio hired him full time. Concurrently, he pursued his own artwork. Five years later, his desire to assist other artists waned as his drive to pursue his own business, Jean-Pierre Canlis Glass (now Canlis Glass), flourished.
People ask with which artist J.P. identifies or to whom his work is compared. J.P. deliberately avoids drawing inspiration from the works of others, nor does he aspire for his work to look like any particular category. Rather, he draws inspiration from nature, most often the ocean. Growing up as a competitive surfer on Oahu, his passion for the ocean runs deep.
Canlis Glass is now a strong name in the glass art world. After spending four years working solely on Canlis Glass in Honolulu, J.P. with his wife and business partner, Leigh, moved back to Seattle. Working diligently with galleries, private collectors, corporations, interior designers and the like, Canlis Glass is pushing the boundaries of glass art, as we know it. From large-scale installations gracing hotel lobbies to individual works on collectors’ yachts, J.P.’s artwork is making an impact worldwide.
JP Canlis is represented by Sandra Ainsley Gallery, located in Toronto, the leading contemporary glass art gallery in Canada.