Columbus Makes Art Presents Madi Cano, Glass Axis Instructor and Artist
Madi Cano is an independent working glass artist, a Glass Axis instructor in hot glass and is currently a marketing and gallery intern at Glass Axis. She is a senior at The Ohio State University, working towards degrees in marketing and art with a specialization in glass. Her work will be on display in the upcoming Glass Axis gallery show, Mini Vitro, and during the annual Glass Axis Holiday Sale. We sat down with Madi to talk about how she got her start in glass and where she expects this medium to take her in the future.
Melody: You’re from northwestern Ohio where there are a number of great college programs. What made you decide on The Ohio State University?
Madi: To be honest, OSU wasn’t my first choice. I really wanted to get out of Ohio and attend school in Texas, California or Florida. It wasn’t until I got my acceptance letter and saw the excitement on my uncle’s face that I knew that I had to come down to Columbus (he also graduated from OSU and is the ultimate Buckeye fan).
I was really looking for a school that could help me focus on my business career and help me to start my own business. I knew that OSU was a great place to study, but also it was comforting to know that I was still close to home. I’m really glad that the universe sent me in this direction because otherwise I would have never imagined that my life would have turned out the way that it did.
Melody: Very few artists grow up knowing that they are going to specialize in working with glass. Where and how did your interest in glass start?
Madi: I had absolutely no clue what I wanted to do when I started college. I started out thinking that I would major in marketing and photography. It wasn’t until I had a few meetings with my art advisor and she suggested that I fulfill my internship requirement by working at Glass Axis that I realized what I wanted to do.
The opportunity to work with glass kind of slapped me in the face when one of the artists suggested that I make a piece for the Glassquerade Fashion Show. Looking back on it, the piece that I made was very simple but it meant so much to me at the time that I felt like I had to keep going.
After the internship ended, I began taking classes over the summer at Glass Axis where I focused on kiln-forming and torchworking and then moved into the hot shop at OSU.
Melody: You’re also double majoring in marketing. How do you see the marketing and art working together in your future career?
Madi: I have been an entrepreneur since the day I was born. When I was a kid, I owned a non-profit cupcake business and then when I went to college I co-founded a startup food truck that is now a successful brick-and-mortar store.
Even though I’ve found my passion for art and have stepped away from the professional business world, I still use my marketing and entrepreneur skills every day when I’m making and selling my art. I am currently selling my work in multiple boutiques, on Etsy and on my own website. In order to make all of that happen I have to be able to market myself using social media and exposure.
Every time you speak to someone about your work it’s like pitching a new business idea to them. Considering that most people are fascinated by the medium, just saying “I’m a glass artist” is usually a good conversation starter.
Melody: Are there any themes or subjects that you like to focus on in your glass art?
Madi: I know that this isn’t really your typical “artist” answer, but I thrive doing production work. There’s something so exciting about being able to perfect an object and make multiples of them with precision that I am drawn to. I love being able to create objects such as pumpkins, ornaments or cups on repeat and trying to make the next one better and quicker than the last one.
I think this preference of mine is based on being taught that, as an artist, you cannot be afraid to make production work in order to sustain yourself.
Even though I am currently in an academic setting at OSU, and I am being encouraged to make more “art” than “sellable” work, I do enjoy the extra time that I take to hang out in the studio by myself and work on production pieces.
On the opposite train of thought, whenever I make more artsy pieces I like to think about my life and how I interact with the world around me. One of my favorite pieces that I’ve done is titled “Beautiful Anxiety.” It’s made out of a transparent umbrella that I painted into a rainbow and then hung glass raindrops from the inside of the umbrella. The umbrella was then suspended from the ceiling and placed above a circular piece of AstroTurf in order to create this little space.
Viewers are welcome to sit beneath the umbrella, have the rainbow light shine on them and look at the falling raindrops. This piece was created to express how I deal with my anxiety and depression. I have always been told that I am a bright and happy person, but on the inside of my brain there are raindrops and thunderstorms, which is how my depression has expressed itself. The piece is extremely beautiful and enjoyable to look at. But the fishing lines that hold it up, stresses the entire piece and it could snap at any moment, much like my anxiety and panic attacks.
Melody: Glass has been predominately a male-dominated art form. What advice to you have for women who are interested in pursuing glass art?
Madi: Hahaha, girl, you have to embrace it!! I have been in many different career fields where men look down on me for, not only the fact that I am a female, but because of my age. Who cares about age or gender or race or size or shape; just do it. Don’t be afraid to try something new just because someone says you can’t. You’ll be happy when you did it, worked hard, succeeded and proved them wrong.
Melody: What’s the best thing about the Columbus art scene right now?
Madi: I love how much the art scene is growing. I think that my favorite part about driving around the Short North and downtown is the fact that there are always new pieces popping up. I also love how supportive the community is and how much people value the art. Franklinton Fridays and Gallery Hop are some of my favorite times because it gives people the opportunity to get out of their comfort zones and explore new art and culture.
I get so excited when we get random visitors at Glass Axis who are from out of town or who have never been exposed to glass before because they’re so impressed and amazed by everything — even something as basic and quick as an ornament or a pumpkin makes their jaws drop. Each and every demo that someone experiences or item that they purchase from a local artist helps the community grow and it spreads the love that we artists have our art.
Madi’s work will be on display in the upcoming Glass Axis gallery show, Mini Vitro, and during the annual Glass Axis Holiday Sale. She will be teaching a variety of classes at Glass Axis throughout December and the New Year. A listing of all available classes are available at www.glassaxis.org. More about Madi can be found at www.tipsyteacupstudio.com and on social media @TipsyTeacupStudio.
Columbus Makes Art Presents is a bi-weekly column brought to you by the Greater Columbus Arts Council – supporting art and advancing culture in Columbus. The column is a project of the Art Makes Columbus campaign, telling the inspiring stories of the people and organizations who create Columbus art and sharing information about exhibitions, performances, concerts and more at ColumbusMakesArt.com. Each column will be written by a different local arts organization to give you an insiders look at how #artmakescbus.