In the dining room of TAOS Plus, an upscale Zapote eatery, a reception for artist Fernán Salazar’s glass sculptures celebrated his latest, “Explorando con el Vidrio” (Exploring with Glass). The display included an impressionistic menagerie of fish, flora and colorful insects. His corner of TAOS was cozy, the atmosphere quiet and reflective.
“When people see light in the glass,” said Salazar, gesturing to a tastefully lit sculpture of blooming flowers, “people go crazy for it.”
Salazar has worked with glass for the past six years, and he has produced four solo shows, but the majority of his works have sold to collectors. This is no small feat, and Salazar is a prolific artist. Each show features around 40 different pieces, all of them produced in his La Sabana studio.
Tonight the pieces are flying off the walls. Salazar pointed out a round red sticker on some of the tags. “The red dots are sold already,” he said, looking astonished. Friends and fans flowed through TOAS, welcoming Salazar with hugs and kisses on the cheek. He spent long minutes with each guest, discussing the items at length.
Salazar uses a technique called vidrio-fusión, or “glass fusion.” Initially, Salazar cuts pieces of glass into individual shapes, then fuses them together into larger forms. He then puts the completed sculpture in an oven, where the pieces are melted together. Utilizing the oven is as much an art form as assembling the shape, as there are many methods to heating and melting the glass.
Like many artists in Costa Rica, Salazar is drawn to natural forms. Nearly all of his “Explorando” pieces depict some kind of living thing, particularly marine life.
“I am an ocean person,” said Salazar. “Fish are part of my nature. But a friend recently told me, ‘These are beautiful, but you should also make a sculpture of New York City.’ I thought, ‘Maybe I’ll try that.’”