Photos by Paul Flessland
“In my opinion, art is therapy,” said local glass artist, Thaddeus Laugisch. By day, Laugisch designs commercial grain elevators at Kava Construction, where he is also Safety Director. Laugisch’s “therapy” is on display in his office, however it can also be seen in the Spirit Room until March fourth. We interviewed Laugisch at both locations to bring to light the connection between his life at Kava Construction and as an artist.
Although he only went public as an artist six months ago, Laugisch has always processed his regular life through his art. Over the years, Laugisch has matured from realism to abstract art. Currently, his medium of choice is glass. In fact, Laugisch has coined the term, “Glassology,” which he describes as, “the chaotic beauty of science experiments and a lot of artistic direction.”
A graduate of NDSCS Wahpeton, Laugisch initially moved to Fargo to work for a window glazing company, where he was inspired to make art out of recycled glass. “I’d keep seeing glass getting thrown away in the dumpster because everything that’s old gets thrown, or if it gets ordered wrong, it gets thrown,” Laugisch explained. Now, Laugisch gets most of his materials from Frontier Glass or the ReStore in Moorhead.
On the glass, Laugisch applies household chemicals and paint to cause natural chemical reactions. Laugisch then uses a heat gun to manipulate the paint, which accidentally lead to the conceptualization of glassology. “I was trying to dry the paint as quick as possible using the heat gun, and it got a little too hot,” Laugisch said. He then decided to salvage the shards of broken glass and turn them into a new piece.
Laugisch uses a 1,000 pound adhesive to secure the paint to the glass, then fastens a wire around the back of each piece so that his art can hang on the wall four different ways.
While Laugisch is personally drawn to tones of blue and green, he sometimes experiments with a more neutral palette. For example, this piece featuring earth tones and a hardboard back was his first commissioned piece.
Art is sometimes ineffable, or unable to be expressed in words, which is why many artists find it difficult to name their work. In his office at Kava Construction, Laugisch has a massive, unfinished piece leaning against the wall. He referred to the glass as if it has a mind of its own, “If you look at her at different angles, she glimmers.” Laugisch has yet to find a name for this piece. “Naming is one of the hardest things to do. I don’t want to name it after the thoughts or emotions that went into it because that’s a little too personal,” Laugisch said.
To remedy this, Laugisch names his pieces in languages other than English. This encourages the viewers to formulate their own theories about what each piece represents. For example, all of Laugisch’s pieces in the Spirit Room have German names to honor his German ancestry. Laugisch was actually the first of his immediate family to be born on American soil.
After sharing his work, Laugisch became interested in how other people interpreted his art. Laugisch left a comment box next to his exhibit in the Spirit Room for people to share their own personal interpretations of what they saw in his work.
Some of Laugisch’s favorite interpretations have stemmed from this piece, Umarmung.
Since going public with his art, Laugisch has gotten positive feedback from all over the world. In the future, he hopes to continue showing his work in Fargo and further.
For more information contact:
Follow Thaddeus Laugisch on Instagram at @t.glassology