Preston Singletary


When Preston Singletary began working with glass in 1982, he had no idea that he would be so connected to the material in the way that he is. It was only when he began to experiment with using designs from his Tlingit cultural heritage that his work began to take on a new purpose and direction.

Over time, Singletary’s skill with the material of glass and traditional form line design has strengthened and evolved, allowing him to explore more fully his own relationship to both his culture and chosen medium. This evolution, and subsequent commercial success, has positioned him as an influence on contemporary Indigenous art.

Through teaching and collaborating in glass with other Native American, Maori, Hawaiian, and Australian Aboriginal artists, he has come to see that glass brings another dimension to Indigenous art. The artistic perspective of Indigenous people reflects a unique and vital visual language that has connections to the ancient codes and symbols of the land, and this interaction has informed and inspired Singletary’s work.

His work with glass transforms the notion that Native artists are only best when traditional materials are used. It has helped advocate on the behalf of all Indigenous people—affirming that we are still here—that that we are declaring who we are through our art in connection to our culture.

Singletary’s work continues to evolve and connect his personal cultural perspective to current modern art movements, and he has received much attention for striving to keep the work fresh and relevant. He is honored that his success has inspired other artists from underrepresented Indigenous cultures to use glass and other nontraditional materials in their work. He hopes that he can continue to encourage more innovation in this area as his career progresses.

In 2023, Singletary won the Chrystina and James R. Parks Trustees’ Purchase Award at Masters for his Tlingit Shelf Basket.

Preston Singletary is represented by Blue Rain Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico; Schantz Galleries, Stockbridge, Massachusetts; and Traver Gallery, Seattle, Washington.

View the Autry’s interview with Preston Singletary here. Recorded live January/2023. 

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