About

 
The hand plays an integral part of the work I make. The actions of forming an object come to resemble methods with which one can use to mold our surroundings as well as our bodies. A dialogue of class and access guides the objects I make. My works attempt to identify a conflict with success and how Patriarchal constructs and notions of success constrict social progress. How our male dominated work culture denies the right for women and minorities in society, the right to pursue a success granted to young white men. These objects investigate the ambiguities of cultural rituals and societal expectations of masculinity through sculptural artworks and installations. I am interested in questioning not only the public, but also the intimate spaces where masculinity is cultivated, such as the moment when a father ties a tie on the neck of his adolescent son. Repetition plays a key role in my work, it is both how I have learned to make and how I have practiced to be a man. Critiquing the result of that practice aids in identifying how a young white man is formed both by tradition and society, therefore this work identifies that ability to have access to economy and privilege. The image of the knot, therefore, becomes a central trope in this body of work. For myself, the knot represents these moments of solidification of manhood as a fixed identity that entails privilege, but at the same time presupposes a myriad of cultural values that silence vulnerability, desire, and subjectivity.
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Born in 1987 the son of glass artists Jack Schmidt and Shawn Messenger. Ian’s glass career has been fostered from a young age. Having grown up in Toledo, Ohio, home to the contemporary glass movement as well as industrial glass, both industry and art were present in his up bringing. The experience was something that he would later draw from when beginning to pursue glass as a career. "Observation is at times the best way to learn and helped me grow”. In 2006 Ian was admitted to the Rochester Institute of Technology's School for American Craftsmen, studying under Michael Rogers and Robin Cass he received his Bachelors of Fine Arts degree in 2010. A traditional crafts school, it was a place of wildly different experiences. As one could walk from one end of the campus to the other seeing construction of a military jet fighter to the other where craft students were taught foundational skills. 

After university he began to work for the Corning Museum of Glass as a demonstrating glass blower. For 4 years he worked in their outreach programs, traveling from the Mediterranean sea to Sydney, Australia. Working as a privately commissioned glass artist he has maintained a business working on creating custom designs. His work now has moved into a new direction as he begins to work on several new series of pieces based more closely on self portrait work and human form.