Celebrating the Vision of John Moran: An Artist Who Exceeds Expectations

 John Moran
John Moran in the process of sculpting a hand in his studio. Photo: Marta Byrdziak.

Art is the finest representation of a duality between form and expression. It embodies both a physical presence and a portrayal of invisible emotions. A craftsman should have mastery over both concrete handiwork and abstract illustration to be recognized as an artist. However, only a few artists can take their skills to unprecedented heights. John Moran, a hot glass sculpting virtuoso, is such an artist who goes beyond expectations by realizing his vision through stunning artwork.

Considered one of the best glass and mixed media artisans in the world, with a particular focus on figurative realism, John has a unique concept behind his artworks. More than an artist, he sees himself as a storyteller whose medium of narration is glass: "I attempt to illustrate how I see the barrage of consumerism, religion, and politics colliding with depictions of social injustice, secular beliefs, and popular culture. I am a product of all of these things," he says.

Hailing from Philadelphia, John grew up in a middle-class family. His father passed away due to a heart attack when he was only 10. This was the start of a series of events that transformed him. Losing his father at such a young age posed a set of challenging problems for the young boy. It also taught him certain valuable life lessons as he navigated the challenges of life without the firm support of a father figure. This incident initiated the development of a thought that later turned into John's vision.

This misfortune enabled John to take risks and become unyielding in chasing his dreams. John always felt an affinity towards arts; with time, it became his passion. Thus, he enrolled in Tyler School of Art after high school, where he first discovered his passion for glass making. After graduating, he worked temporarily for various studios until he got the opportunity to travel to China. This chance widened his outlook on life, enhanced his vision, and pushed him to travel more to observe culture, society, and humanity closely.

Focusing on his glass art passion, John started to develop a unique ability to transform his cultural experiences into artistic illustrations. During this time, his vision regarding art refined further - it added meaning to what he created. In the course of the Wheaton Arts residency he was offered, John developed his first installation titled American Idols. This was an introductory display of his concept of using glass as a method of communication.

From this point onwards, John's career continued to progress. He completed his Master's in Fine Arts from Illinois State University and developed a unique method of making large-scale figurative works in glass and mixed media, a technique central to portraying an abstract idea through the glass. Keenly observing the life around him, John's mindset also kept evolving. Using the method he created, John started translating his ideology regarding different topics into his glass sculptures.

John also achieved the peak of his academic career when he earned a Ph.D. from the Academy of Arts and Design, Wroclaw, Poland. During this time, he created some of his most iconic art pieces, each narrating a different tale through its design. John's art style is widely known for its socio-political messaging. Aligned with his vision, his art acts as a medium that sparks a thought around a particular subject.

Follow him on Instagram to learn more about his craft and his philosophy of using glass arts as a platform to initiate debate and engage the masses.