Calgary's Contemporary Art Gallery

Ioan Nemtoi


"I know my art is not pointless when somebody reacts to it, asking questions, being moved or intrigued by my works. I never thought that one day I would have my own studio and furnaces, even more a team to teach and work with, and share the joy of every glass piece, of every color and shape, of every work that I name and bring in the world of glass". 

Ioan Nemtoi is a Romanian Glass Artist heading towards international recognition. He was born in 1964 on a farm in North-eastern Romania as the eldest son of a large family. He says, “My interest for shapes and for creating began at a very young age. I remember when I had to tend the sheep at home when I was 7-8 years old. I was very bored so I let the sheep graze near a lake where I knew there was some good clay and this is where I made my first creations. When I came home my father was angry because the sheep had not had enough grass to eat." 

When Nemtoi was in the 5th grade in school one of his teachers noticed his artistic talent and sent him to an Art School. Later he continued in High School with art as his main subject where he primarily worked with clay and metal. During his 6 years of studies in the Academy of Art in Bucharest a teacher introduced him to glass art 

“In the beginning this drove me crazy. But I made glass my challenge and today it is my art. When working with glass you have to think and act quickly. For me it is also fascinating to work with both fire and water. To work with glass has become my way of expressing my feelings,” he remembers. 

In 1995 Nemtoi opened his own studio in the area where he grew up. "We have some very fine sand in this area which is excellent for glass making. This is why I have settled here." Today Nemtoi's studio has 40 employees and the two blast furnaces run 24 hours a day. Everything that is made is designed by Ioan Nemtoi and each piece is unique. All items are blown by mouth. Nemtoi's glass is exported to North and South America, Canada, Japan, Portugal, Spain, France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, England, Sweden, Norway and Denmark. 

According to Nemtoi, art is universal and therefore it must be available to as many people as possible. Nemtoi has exhibited his work in a large number of countries and he frequently teaches in Japan and the States. 

About his artistic inspiration, Nemtoi says that he gets most of his inspiration from nature. “The mere sight of a tree can make me forget time and place which is the reason why I do not drive a car. The technique I use is almost like a kind of watercolor technique which gives the glass both life and depth and makes it bubble with color. I love to add color to a shape.” 

“The technique I use is almost like watercolor painting which gives the glass both life and depth and makes it bubble with color. I like to add color to shapes,” he affirms. "When working with molten glass, one must think and act very quickly yet gently. In the beginning this was very hard to control, but I made glass my challenge. It is also fascinating for me to work with both fire and water. Working with glass has become my way of expressing my feelings. What started as my challenge, today is my art!"