Asaf Zakay is a geometric glass art visionary. His sculptures and luminaries adorn spaces around the world. His pieces are most known for their unique and mesmerising reflections. Made of the highest quality materials, Asaf is world recognised for his art and creates each piece with perfection and grace.
Asaf first began creating glass sculptures back when he was living in his native Israel. He had long worked with materials like wood and marble, using them to create geometric forms – in particular the interlocking tetrahedron shape better known to him as the Star of David.
When he began working as an installer of Belgian-style stained-glass windows, his natural curiosity led him to experiment with similar techniques in his personal work.
Little did he know the influence this geometric star will have on his portfolio. From his gallery studio in Bangalow on the Australian East Coast, Zakay creates stunning interlocking glass sculptures that, when illuminated, fill a room with interplaying patterns of shadow and light.
“As a designer, my creations are fashioned on what is known as the golden ratio, a ratio that appeals to the human sense of beauty and balance. I aim to capture the essence of nature and allow people to see it as if for the first time.”
What inspired you to become an artist?
Growing up in a remote village of Israel where my mother was an accountant and father a farmer, there was limited exposure to the huge world of the arts. My mother's passion was painting and from a young age I was surrounded by artists and artworks.
Becoming an artist was mostly about the desire to step out of ‘life’ and drop into a space of silence. Through the process of creating art forms like this I am forced to be present and become engrossed into a state of concentration similar to meditation. So the process inspired me to be and keep being an artist.
Where did you study? How did you come into this line of work?
I completed a stained glass course in Israel, one of the designs was the Star of David. I decided to try and build it in three dimensions as an experiment. I would build it from all different materials. I loved using glass because of the reflective and light catching properties, from there it took on a life of its own. I was captivated by the way these objects played with light and reflections and seemed to emit a certain quality even when not exposed to any light or sunlight at all.
In 2005 I came to Australia and I was introduced to the concept of sacred geometry. I kept creating more and more designs and found that one simple design would lead to other more complex shapes, as a process of pushing and pulling faces. I am still finding new designs and new experiments to try, even after 15 years of practice.
Can you tell us a bit about your process?
We are using traditional stained glass techniques, started in England in 1895 by an artist named Louis Comfort Tiffany , who made the iconic Tiffany lamps. I have taken a traditional process and adapted it to create these objects that evolve into other objects. Sometimes I will try attaching a pyramid to a flat face or inverting aspects of the overall form. It's a very dynamic process with many decisions and variables. The end result is a very complete and powerful form but it came into reality in a very fluid and dynamic way.
What are you saying with your work?
My work is based on proportions that are expressed in every living being on earth. Every living being is based on the golden ratio, the Fibonacci Sequence. Art is so necessary in life, art inspired people. If you can have a pieces that you love that resonates with you, that makes you feel good and if I can provide that - well that is amazing for me.
I love seeing people walk into the gallery and watching an expression of awe and delight takeover their faces. I love seeing people become obsessed with a particular shape. I love receiving emails years after someone has left the gallery with their piece telling me that they are still so grateful that this pieces shares their life.
Is there a shape, style or function you prefer to work towards? Do you accept custom commissions?
I enjoy creating all the pieces, in the process there is even more ideas coming through and it's a matter of time before those new ideas become a reality. We accept custom commissions and I really enjoy that challenge. Some people want brass finish, some people want specifically coloured glass, bespoke handmade blown glass, others love that I make a pieces especially for their loved ones and have them sign it personally.
Universal language of light is love, I hope that's what I allow people to feel for these pieces. I love custom commissions, it allows me to collaborate with the people I am designing for and together we created a pieces especially for them.