|An artistic approach|
|A secret weapon|
|Designer puts his cards on the table|
Marie, who acts as his artist’s agent, says she is on the telephone or the computer at least five days or more every week, tracking down leads and contacting potential clients, gallery owners and show managers. “My goal is to find places that will display Glen’s furniture in the way it deserves to be seen,” she says.
Much of Guarino’s work is characterized by sweeping curves that give each a soft, flowing look. He favors natural woods, often combining species in a single piece, and prefers clear coats to colored stains. Some of the designs suggest an Asian influence, others a hint of Art Deco.
In his artist’s statement, Guarino declares, “I hope my furniture speaks clearly, in a language that conveys a sense of the person behind the art; of someone who loves the creative process and respects the beauty of the material from which it is made. As each viewer moves a hand along the lines of the work, I want him or her to sense the skill and love for the craft needed to create it.”
He adds, “As each design becomes real and tangible, I get a sense of a tree evolving into a new life as a useful piece of art. I’m grateful to be the catalyst for this rebirth.”
As may be assumed from such a personal approach, Guarino gravitates toward extensive use of hand tools. “Machines, while certainly useful at times, can create an artificial distance between the artist and the material,” he suggests. “My hands-on approach allows me to let the design’s simplicity reveal itself, creating a piece that imparts serenity and calm.”
Until recently, Guarino has focused strictly on one-of-a-kind creations. “I make lots of tables and mirror frames,” he notes, “and while there may be some similarity from one piece to the next, I’ve always managed to find some subtle detail or nuance that I could change.”
Nevertheless, when he launched the Web site for Guarino Furniture Designs LLC, Marie urged him to include a page for limited reproductions. Although only five designs — three tables and two mirrors — currently are being shown, Glen does have plans for more.
“My ultimate goal is to be a true practitioner of three disciplines — designer, craftsman and businessman,” he explains. All of these are necessary, he believes, if he is going to be able to sustain himself as a working artist for the next 20-plus years.
“There are two basic paths to financial success for an artist,” Guarino reflects. “One is to keep doing one-of-a-kind creations and hope to become so well-known that people will want to collect your pieces. The other is to develop a few signature pieces and reproduce them, gaining enough distribution so that they become recognizable and help brand your work in the marketplace.” He cites famed furniture artist Sam Maloof as someone who has taken both routes and succeeded with each. “Sam continues to create original designs, but he also is famous for his chairs. Take a look at a Sam Maloof chair, and you know instantly that it is his work.”