She’s in the zone. Glass artist Akoko Okeyo, barely recognizable beneath goggles, respirator, ear plugs and a blanket of iridescent dust, skillfully coaxes her creations to life as the pop strains of Beyonce compete with a demanding drill. Ensconced in her garage-based studio for hours at a stretch, the girl is truly in her glory.
Based in Newport Beach, California, Akoko is one of a small, select group of artists who hand-engrave glass art, a technique requiring great skill, training and certification. From perfume bottles to custom shower doors (and, everything in between), Akoko’s artwork frequently features African animals, dolphins, florals, dragonflies and nudes. Much of her work is commission based – and, because each piece is hand engraved, no two works are identical. In fact, she limits herself to a maximum of five commissions of the same work to maintain quality and to keep her artwork fresh.
Her process is both intensive and time-consuming. She bases her decisions on subject matter requirements and glass properties. Envisioning what goes onto the glass is only the beginning; what goes into the glass is what gives her work its dimension. Composition, pose, bone structure, glass thickness, light, and surface area are all primary considerations. Knowing where to begin is one thing; knowing where to stop is yet another.
Once she decides on a subject, Akoko studies photographs to confirm her knowledge of bone structure and surface detail. From there, she “sleeps on it” for several nights to allow ample time for her vision to take shape. Only then will she sketch onto glass and begin to drill. She places her artwork on the top, bottom, sides, and even the insides of glass vessels – requiring her to visualize, plan and execute her artwork upside down or inside out while still maintaining surgical skill and precision. Depending on size, a single work of art can take up to several days to complete; larger works can take several months.
The results are breathtaking – particularly when displayed with a carefully positioned L.E.D. light. You’ll find Akoko most weekends in Art-A-Fair. Don’t miss your opportunity to see and purchase the exquisite works of this talented artist!