James Mongrain has an extraordinary mastery of material and facility with Venetian glass technique has earned him a place amongst the great glass artists of the world. Early in his career, his teachers Maestro Lino Tagliapietra and Checco Ungaro, helped guide and influence his inspiration and virtuosity. Today, he leads the glass team at Chihuly Studios where he works directly with Dale Chihuly to create the large-scale masterworks for which Chihuly is so well known.
During his early career, Mongrain focused his attention on becoming proficient in the Venetian tradition of goblet-making, and he continues to be inspired by traditional Italian forms. “In my work, I strive for a level of precision that unites traditional elegance with contemporary flair,” says Mongrain. “It’s important for me to make something that’s new, that can hold my interest, and it needs to be honest and true.”
Mongrain was introduced to glass at Moorhead State University in Minnesota and later studied glassblowing at Massachusetts College of Art and the Appalachian Center for Crafts. He has been a lead gaffer for Dale Chihuly since 1998 and has worked with well-known contemporary artists Jim Dine, Kiki Smith, Jeff Koons, Robert Wilson, and Walter Lieberman. James Mongrain has exhibited in the American Craft Museum in New York City, Louisville Museum of Art in Kentucky, as well as galleries and collections around the country, including The Corning Museum of Glass. Mongrain has been a gaffer at Chihuly Inc. since 1998 and has work in the George Stroemple collection.