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From Sparkly Origins to Unique Art: The Glitter Odyssey

From Sparkly Origins to Unique Art: The Glitter Odyssey

The Radiant Magic of Glitter: Exploring the Medium and Artistic Expressions

In contemporary art, Glitter is a radiant medium that captivates with its luminous charm. Artists worldwide have harnessed the transformative power of Glitter to elevate their creations to dazzling heights. In this article, we embark on a journey through the enchanting world of glitter art, delving into the medium's origins, its manufacturing process, and the captivating artistic expressions it inspires.

For me personally as an artist, I have always been fascinated by glitter so I have incorporated it in my mixed media paintings many times over the years. 

A friend who is also a New Zealand artist works with glitter and creates the most stunning glitter carpet installations that are next level. The following image is one of his creations titled Ultra Glister. These amazing large carpet pieces are entirey made of loose glitter and are temporary installations. Mark also creates paintings and some sculptural work that incorporates this amazing sparkly medium.

glitter carpet art by Mark Curtis

Unveiling the Origins of Glitter:

With its shimmering allure, Glitter traces its origins back to ancient civilisations. In these ancient cultures, ingenious artisans would crush materials such as mica, glass, and metals into tiny particles, giving birth to visually brilliant shimmering substances. These early craftsmen understood the power of light reflection and sought to capture its mesmerising effect in their creations.

This ancient tradition of crafting shimmering materials evolved and refined as time progressed. Innovations in manufacturing techniques and advancements in material sourcing led to the development of the modern Glitter we know today. As glitter production evolved from manual grinding to more sophisticated methods, particle size and metallic or coloured coatings could be controlled better.

Nowadays, the manufacturing of Glitter is through a meticulous process that combines cutting-edge technology with artistic vision. First, the core material, which can vary from plastic to glass or even metal, is ground into precise particles of different sizes. These particles are then coated with metallic or coloured films, ensuring their ability to reflect light and produce the mesmerising shimmer that defines Glitter.

The evolution of Glitter from its humble beginnings in ancient civilisations to the modern glitter industry is a testament to humanity's enduring fascination with capturing the fleeting beauty of light. Today, artists and creators continue to harness the radiant power of Glitter, infusing their works with its transformative enchantment and captivating audiences with its iridescent magic.

variety of glitter pieces

The Making of Glitter:

The manufacturing process of contemporary glitter involves several steps to create its mesmerising shimmer. It typically consists of a core material coated with layers of metallic or coloured films. The core material can be derived from diverse substances such as plastic, glass, or even metals like aluminium.
The chosen core material is finely ground into varying-sized particles to create a distinctive range of glitter sizes. This grinding process ensures the desired particle size distribution, contributing to the diverse array of glitter available in the market.

Once the particles are prepared, they undergo a coating process. Multiple layers of metallic or coloured films are applied to the surface of the particles. The design of these films is created to reflect light, enhancing the glitter's dazzling effect. The metallic or coloured films capture and bounce light off their surfaces, creating an enchanting shimmer that catches the eye.

The number of coating layers and the choice of metallic or coloured films can vary, allowing for an extensive range of glitter effects. In addition, different combinations of coatings produce glitter with varying degrees of brilliance, sparkle, and colour intensity.
The final result is a mesmerising medium that artists and creators employ to add depth, dimension, and captivating visual appeal to their works. Glitter's ability to reflect and scatter light creates a stunning play of illumination, enchanting viewers with its radiant charm.

From its humble core materials to the intricate coating process, the manufacturing of glitter combines technology, craftsmanship, and artistic vision to bring forth a medium that elevates creative expressions with its shimmering allure.

Glitter as an Artistic Medium:

Artists embrace glitter as a transformative medium that infuses their creations with vibrancy and enchantment. Regardless of the artistic discipline, be it traditional painting, sculpture, or mixed media. Glitter has the remarkable power to enhance the artwork, adding depth, dimension, and a touch of magic.

When artists incorporate glitter into their works, they unlock multiple possibilities. The reflective properties of glitter allow it to interact dynamically with light, capturing the viewer's attention and creating an immersive visual experience. As light dances upon the glitter-covered surfaces, it ignites a captivating play of illumination and shadow, amplifying the artwork's visual impact.
Glitter breathes life into the artwork, transforming it from mere pigment or material into something extraordinary. It becomes more than just a decorative element; it becomes an integral part of the artwork's narrative. The glimmering particles add a dynamic quality, giving the creation a sense of movement and energy.

Beyond its visual allure, glitter can evoke emotions and draw viewers into a world of radiant beauty. The shimmering and reflective nature of glitter creates a stunning and almost hypnotic effect, captivating the senses and inviting viewers to explore the artwork on a deeper level. The play of light and the mesmerizing sparkle of glitter engage the viewer's emotions, creating a sense of wonder, joy, or intrigue.

Glitter allows artists to experiment with texture and tactility. Artists can create varied textures and visual contrasts by incorporating different sizes and types of glitter particles. The comparison of smooth surfaces with sparkling and textured areas adds a tactile dimension that further enhances the viewer's engagement.

In essence, glitter serves as a gateway to a world of radiant beauty and transformative experiences. Artists harness its reflective qualities to elevate their creations, infusing them with depth, dimension, and ethereal touch. Glitter becomes a conduit that captivates the viewer's attention, evokes emotions, and transports them into a realm where art and magic intertwine.

Pink glitter Bra by Collette Fergus

Crafting Glitter-Infused Art:

Artists employ diverse techniques to incorporate glitter into their works, allowing it to play a pivotal role in the artistic process. Some artists sprinkle glitter directly onto surfaces, creating a stunning and sparkling effect. The scattered glitter catches the light, producing a mesmerising interplay of illumination and adding an extra layer of texture and visual interest.

In contrast, other artists integrate glitter more intimately into their artwork by mixing it with mediums like paint or resin. By doing so, glitter becomes an integral part of the artistic composition, seamlessly blending with the colours and textures of the piece. I have created a few pieces of mixed media art that incorporate gitter (some shown in this article) and have a fascination for its sparkly allure.

Furthermore, this technique allows for a harmonious fusion of glitter with other elements, creating a cohesive and captivating artwork that engages the viewer's senses.

Beyond its visual appeal, glitter holds symbolic significance in art. Artists use glitter as a tool to explore profound concepts such as glamour, excess, transformation, and the transient nature of beauty. It becomes a metaphor for the complexities of human existence, inviting viewers to contemplate the fleeting moments that glitter in their lives.

Glitter's association with glamour and excess allows artists to delve into themes of desire, indulgence, and the allure of luxury. In addition, it serves as a visual representation of the glittering facades we often encounter in our pursuit of beauty and fulfilment.

Moreover, glitter's transformative properties enable artists to explore the notion of transformation and the ephemeral nature of beauty. The shimmering particles become a metaphor for the transient and fleeting moments that captivate us, reminding viewers to cherish the beauty in the present and embrace the ever-changing nature of existence.

Through the incorporation of glitter, artists create works that transcend the visual realm, triggering contemplation and introspection. Glitter becomes a catalyst for deep emotional connections, drawing viewers into a dialogue about the profound and transient aspects of human experience.

Pocket Full Of Glitter Fashion abstract dress painting by Collette

Reuben Paterson

In the magical world of contemporary art, Reuben Paterson's artistic explorations with glitter delve into this rich history while offering a contemporary perspective on the medium. His amazing glitter-infused art transcends traditional boundaries and profoundly reflects on wealth, status, and personal identity.  

Artists embrace glitter as a transformative medium that breathes vibrancy and enchantment into their works. It possesses the remarkable power to enhance traditional paintings, sculptures, and mixed-media creations, adding depth, dimension, and a touch of magic. Paterson, in particular, utilises glitter as his artistic signature, infusing his works with radiant brilliance.

Glitter, a Symbolism of Wealth and Identity: 

One of the fascinating aspects of Paterson's art lies in the symbolism of glitter as a representation of wealth and status. Glitter emulates the shimmering allure of precious metals and gemstones, traditionally associated with opulence and power. Paterson's deliberate incorporation of glitter challenges societal constructs surrounding wealth and its influence on personal identity. Through his art, he invites viewers to reflect on their own relationship with material possessions and societal expectations.

Beyond Superficiality: 

While glitter undeniably possesses a surface-level appeal, Paterson's art transcends mere aesthetics. The glitter-infused works evoke deeper contemplation, urging viewers to look beyond the dazzling surface and question societal norms. By mixing up the grandeur of glitter with deeper layers of meaning, Paterson prompts discussions on materialism, consumerism, and the pursuit of status.

Identity and Self-Expression: Glitter, for Paterson, becomes a vehicle for personal expression. By incorporating this symbol of wealth into his art, he explores the concept of individual identity and the ways in which external markers shape our perception of self and how others perceive us. Paterson's glitter-infused artworks prompt viewers to reflect on their own relationship with societal expectations and the role of material wealth in shaping personal identity.

Rueben Paterson glitter artist

Rueben Paterson 

Subversion and Critique: 

In addition to its symbolic association with wealth, Paterson's use of glitter can be seen as a subversive act in art. Glitter, often dismissed as kitsch or relegated to craft projects, is elevated to the forefront of Paterson's practice. Through his deliberate use of glitter as a serious artistic medium, Paterson challenges preconceived notions and encourages reevaluating the value and creative potential of materials often deemed frivolous.

The radiant magic of glitter transcends its visual appeal, offering artists a transformative medium to elevate their creations. Glitter's story intertwines with human creativity from its ancient origins to the modern manufacturing process. Reuben Paterson's glitter-infused artworks exemplify the medium's potential for profound reflection and subversion. By incorporating glitter as an artistic signature, Paterson prompts viewers to contemplate the association between wealth, personal identity, and societal expectations. As we explore the captivating world of glitter art, we witness the mesmerising brilliance that arises when creativity and light intertwine.

At the End of the Day:

Glitter, with its shimmering radiance, has evolved into a cherished medium in the world of contemporary art. From its ancient origins to the modern manufacturing process, the story of Glitter intertwines with human creativity.

As artists harness its transformative power, they craft works that dazzle the senses, evoking emotions and sparking contemplation. So take a look at the sparking world of Glitter in contemporary art and experience the enchantment it brings—a radiant world where creativity and light intertwine to create breathtaking masterpieces.

Enter the captivating world of glitter art as we explore its origins, manufacturing process, and transformative power in artistic expression.

Take a look at Rueben Patersons amazing glitter artwork here.

Posted: Sunday 11 June 2023

Don't forget to take a look at more of New Zealand contemporary artist's work in Collette's Online Galleries