After receiving his BFA in Glass from the Rhode Island School of Design, David Walters moved to Seattle to work for Dale Chihuly, for whom he still works to this day. There, he met Lino Tagliapietra and also began working as his assistant, a role he has had for 17 years that has taken him all over the world and provided the central influence in his life and work. Walters began experimenting with his signature painted enamel on glass technique during a 1995 residency at the Creative Glass Center of America in Millville, NJ (where he had another residency in 2004), an intricate narrative style that distinguishes him from other glass artists.
Walters begins by blowing a milky white glass—into serpentine vessels, distorted eggs at times festooned with hats, hyperbolic pitchers and vases, toy cars, and other fantastic shapes. They become the canvas for his minimally colored (mostly black, some primary yellow, blue, and red) exquisitely rendered drawings. Walters calls upon the slightly macabre archetypes of fairy tales and Grimm’s nursery rhymes to tell a moral tale about the nature of human actions and consequences. Walters exposes the challenges of modern living—our ability to face life’s pitfalls, manage our desires, and live selflessly—when society often shields us against reality, pushes us to give in to instant gratification, and rewards us for forgetting our moral compass. But Walters’ message is not one of mere indictment; rather it is a salve against desensitization, connecting us to our humanity and steering us off the path to ruin. Though the work uses a deeply personal vocabulary, we are all able to relate to the struggle to overcome darkness and embrace the hope of the human spirit. Walters is showing us that we need to look within, not without, to find our own fulfillment.
Like many glass artists, Walters is a perpetual student of his craft but also guides the next generation, teaching at various institutions from Haystack School of Crafts (Deer Isle, ME), to Pilchuck Glass School (Stanwood, WA), Pittsburgh Glass Center (PA), Illinois State University (Normal, IL), and Emporia State University (Lyon, KS). He has had numerous solo gallery and museum exhibitions and was featured in Lino e Amici at Fuller Museum of Art (Brockton, MA) and the Living Legacies Show at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, WA.