Cirello Gallery Art Gallery

Update, Cirello Gallery Art Gallery has closed to concentrate on other endeavors.

John Gibbons Working at Cirello Gallery

Photo provided by Cirello Gallery

[Updated 2-2016]

Four things to know about John Gibbons, a resident glass artist at North Park’s Cirello Gallery.

Despite his young age, John Gibbons is certainly making his mark in glass; becoming known for the quality of his craft and passion for the art. And now, with nearly a decade in training supporting his acumen, Gibbons is living his dream.

“There are moments [when I’m in the studio] where there’s nothing else in life that matters,” he states. “I’m so focused that I almost don’t have time to think. [Glass] is challenging, but its my passion and ultimate obsession.”

John Gibbons working on Glass Design FINE magazine

John Gibbons working on Glass Design FINE magazine

1. Gibbons Wears the Family Genes

Encouraged by his father, an art teacher and collector himself, Gibbons’ childhood was riddled with artful pursuits – painting, drawing, sculpting and melding ceramics.
“My dad’s glass [and crystal] collection was probably my first [influence to glass art],” notes Gibbons. “We’d frequently attend antique shows where I’d come across handmade glass bottles from the early 1900’s I was intrigued by their design, how they were made and [wondered about] the designer. Interestingly, until 1960, a large portion of glass pieces were factory-made; in [revitalizing] glass as art, it has since become a movement within itself. And I feel like I’m a part of that.”
And in proving that ‘the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,’ Gibbons’ mother dabbles with stained glass art, his brother in film, and an extension of family in art-inspired mediums as well. If that wasn’t enough, the young artist discovered relatives and ancestors from England who themselves were painters. Jokingly, Gibbons comments, “I guess it’s in our genes to be creative and make things.”

John Gibbons showing Glass Design FINE magazine

2. He Considers Himself a Lifelong Student of the Molten Medium

After a brief stint studying architecture, Gibbons pursued his newfound passion will much avail. He received a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts from Cal State Chico in 2009, and has been afforded the opportunity to study alongside a host of notable glass artist, both nationally and internationally speaking. These have included: famed Czechoslovakian glass sculptor Martin Janecky at the Eugene Glass School in Oregon; award-winning glass artist Dale Chihuly at the Pilchuck Glass School in Washington; Pino Signoretto – a leading force and master artist from Murano, Italy.

At some point in the near future, the budding artist would like nothing more than an extended study-session in Italy with the glass Maestro himself, Lino Tagliapietra. He noted that while he has much to learn – given that even the masters took four to five decades to practice their technique, he is enjoying the journey of self discovery as an artist, along with the opportunity to simply learn from others as well.

John Gibbons Glass Plate Design FINE magazine

John Gibbons Glass Design FINE magazine

3. A NorCal Native, Gibbons is Often Inspired by the ‘Endless Possibility’ of the Art

According to Gibbons, “I like intricate designs, sculpting and layering the glass. It is all about engineering, with an architectural influence; the chemical make-up of the glass and its components, its thickness, weight, color – each affecting the end result.”

Taking a mere two to three hours or even several days to complete, Gibbons’ artwork often involves an integrated labour of love – combining layers and shading, etching, sandblasting, sculpting and even torching. He is fully inspired by life itself, exploring natural hues and realistic forms; geometric shapes and relationships, movement, biology, and of course, a client’s vision. The gallery is laden with various designs, from intricate plate etches, to starfish paper weights, pendants of suspended jellyfish and vases of various color and ornamentation.

So what’s next for the artist? In continuing with a nautical theme, he is currently scheming up designs for a sprawling octopus chandelier and a pendant light taking the form of a mooring ocean buoy. Exploring the relationship between light and glass has always been an interest for Gibbons, who simply enjoys the “challenge” and “movement” it presents.  

John Gibbons Glass Bowl FINE magazine

4. Gibbons Joins Cirello Gallery as an Artist-in-Residence

Since its inception in 2008, Cirello Gallery has hosted a great number of local talent; even Matt Cirello – Gibbons’ cousin and gallery proprietor – displays his artistry of metalsmith sculptural jewelry. Gibbons joined the gallery in the summer of 2010; he was originally planning to return to Chico, but decided to relocate to San Diego after participating in a local street fair where his pieces were sold and highly acclaimed. And the pair of die-hard artists have big plans for the near future.

John Gibbons Glass Design at Cirello Gallery FINE magazine

“In the early spring, we will be expanding the gallery from 900 to 2,000 square feet, acquiring a neighboring space at the same location,” states Gibbons. “Plans for a coffee shop to be included are in discussions, with additional studio space for us to work.”

Cirello hosts 12 local artists annually (each with month-long showings) of various mediums: Sarah Stiber Fine Art will be featured throughout February – a young contemporary artist from La Jolla, who focuses her work on the living expression of the human experience; March will showcase ceramics artist Chris Brown from the San Diego Art Department. Additional events are hosted at the gallery throughout the year, including ‘Ray at Night’ – North Park’s monthly art walk. Held on the second Saturday from 6 p.m. - 10 p.m., ‘Ray at Night’ is scheduled for February 11 and March 10.  

John Gibbons   |

Written By Carrie Scott

Cirello Gallery Art Gallery has closed to concentrate on other endeavors, but you can visit their website