Wednesday, October 20, 2010

An interview with the artist / plastic surgeon Saulius Jankauskas, MD

      I've known Saulius for a few years now. We met at an Orlando art show. He's a great guy with a broad smile, a warm personality and a wonderful sense of humor. The themes of his glass art range from mystical faces,  the four seasons,  flowers and plants, and they're all equally beautiful and fascinating. Photographed images simply don't do them justice, you need to see them in person, to appreciate all of the tiniest details  emerging through the thickness of the glass.

Tell me about yourself.

Saulius Jankauskas, MD.
Born in Detroit, MI to Lithuanian parents who were forced to run from their homeland because of the Soviet occupation of Lithuania.  I am a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon with my practice in Longwood, FL.  Have been working with hot glass since 1996.

What is your opinion of arts education? Is an artist born or made - or both?

Arts education, like all disciplines, has an integral part in the shaping of young people.  It teaches and gives them the ability to be creative, which translates in to all fields and disciplines.  I also work at Unique Glass Colors, , as the research and development person. Creativity, allows me to develop new products and come up with unique answers to existing problems.  Also, as a Plastic Surgeon – the ability to think creatively helps me find solutions to sometimes complex and unusual problems.

I believe and artist is born and made.  We all come out of the womb new and clean, with certain tendencies, likes and abilities.  When these abilities are nurtured and developed they come to fruition.  I believe we all are born with creative abilities.

What work do you most enjoying doing?

I have always enjoyed working with my hands and in undergraduate school delved more intensely into ceramics.  Over time I found myself more interested in the glazing of the piece than the construction.  Then it dawned on me, that if I were to work in hot glass – that would be the glazing without the clay. Eureka, I can cut out the “middle man” and go for the creation using the glaze – the glass!

What jobs have you done other than being an artist?

Working with and “on” people is absolutely my first love.  Helping people either through reconstructive surgery or cosmetic surgery is really gratifying to me.  What is interesting is the similarity that both processes - surgery and hot glass, have with each other.  In surgery, working with human tissues, you have to have the ability to know how certain tissues react in the healing process over time.  So, sometimes you have to over-correct or under-correct or just correct to get the great final result -  knowing that in the healing process the tissues will change.  The healing time for the glass is the time it spends in the kiln.  So, like human tissue, you have to over-correct, under-correct or just correct to get the final result you are trying to achieve.
When people ask me what my primary medium is, I like to answer “human flesh” – which is true and it leads to some interesting responses!

What inspires you?

Many things inspire my creations, but my main muses are poetry and spirituality/religion.

What research do you do?

I’m constantly doing research or almost everything I do.  New information, techniques, applications.  Life becomes stagnant and festers (to paraphrase  a line from the Addams Family “My name is Fester – you know like to rot”)  if you don’t create or learn.

Name something you love, and why.

I absolutely love to sit outside on a warm day with a nice breeze, taking in the smells of freshly mowed grass and letting my mind wander through the realm of prayer.

Name something you don’t love, and why.
Not many things get me angry, however people espousing absolutes (not including the vodka), and extremes to suite their own purpose and injustices, can really get me going.

Favorite writer, favorite song, favorite inspiration ?

My favorite authors change, currently a classic Lithuanian author – Satrijos Ragana.  My standby favorite is  F. Kafka.
Favorite song: “Love song to a Stranger” by Joan Baez.

Where can one view your work online?

Some of my works can be viewed on my Facebook page and on the Unique Glass Colors web page:  Working on a separate web page also...