New Tahoe artist makes connection
Looking into Lake Tahoe’s water artist Derek Glaskin finds inspiration for his art.
Glaskin, 44, who is a native of Australia believes water is the connection between modern and ancient people.
His primary means of expression is painting, but he also sculpts.
Glaskin was working on his art in Hawaii before he came to Lake Tahoe three weeks ago. He has traveled extensively seeking the connections between people past and present through water.
“A lot of the work I do is dealing with water whether it is an ocean, or a lake or rain,” Glaskin said. “My main concern is dealing with connections between the metaphysical world and humans. What I have done is travel to a lot of different tribes that have an interest in water and whose genealogy is based on water.”
Glaskin said he came to Lake Tahoe to explore the connection the indigenous people here share with those in other places he has visited.
“There are a lot of aboriginal drawings that are similar stretching from Australia to Polynesia to Hawaii to Lake Tahoe,” Glaskin said. “In this area there is so much evidence of ceremonial grounds. What I am trying to do is meet elders and find out where they used to hang out like 60 or 70 years ago. A great example is Cave Rock. According to the Washoe it is where the spirits come in and filter into the lake.”
Glaskin believes the connections of aboriginal art around the world can be credited to ancient mariners who used the stars as navigational guides. Part of his work is to help him to discover his own aboriginal origins.
“I am retracing the genealogy of my own ancestors, Mamahu’me,” Glaskin said. “These were Dutch navigators. We are easily going back 3,000 years. The (aboriginal) drawings aren’t just scratchy drawings. If you go to these locations and look up they have navigational stars attached to them.”
Glaskin’s artwork first gained notoriety in the early 1970s. He began designing artwork for the fledgling Billabong Surf Company. Glaskin said that the merging of aboriginal artwork and surfing was ideal because of the spirituality of surfing.
“I first drew for Billabong in 1970,” Glaskin said. “I was 13. I was already known as an artist and a surfer. It was my art and another business guy’s savvy. During those days we were hoping to lead surfing into a more spiritual lifestyle. It led from being a backyard surfer to seeing your art work used all over the world.”
Glaskin was exposed to great artwork as a boy. His grandparents were involved in international shipping which gave them access to cultures and artwork around the world.
“Wherever they went they bought art and they brought it back with them,” Glaskin said. “I got to meet a lot of great artists. As kids we grew up with several Picassos, Rembrandts. But it was the tribal work that held our fascination. I started basically at 15 leaving a traditional art line so I could get experience to see how marketing would work.”
Glaskin said he plans to stay in Tahoe until June 12. He will return to Hawaii and then go to Japan where he expects to work on his art. He said he expects to come back to Tahoe in August.
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