Bryan Northup is a California native now living in the Chicago area. He graduated from California College of the Arts in Oakland, California with a BFA in Fine Art Photography in 1998. In addition to his studio practice Bryan is the Assistant Director of the not-for-profit, community art organization, the Oak Park Art League, historic gallery and art school since 1921.
Bryan works in several media including cold and warm glass, painting, mixed media sculpture and photography. For much of his art career Bryan has focused on working with glass, from traditional stained glass and mosaics to experiments with recycled bottles, creating kiln-formed, functional tableware, lighting and sculptural works.
As an artist and environmentalist Bryan is interested in projects that bring attention to the tenuous balance between the natural world and ever increasing human consumption and destruction of those resources humans depend on. His latest work is concerned with modern society’s unconscious consumption, wastefulness and pollution. Using found plastics diverted from the waste stream, Bryan’s #plastishimi sculptures focus attention on the looming reality of a plastic filled ocean.
Where did the name “biolum” come from?
“Biolum” is the first part of the word bioluminescent, which literally refers to plants and animals that can produce light from within their bodies. Many creatures living in the abyss of the deep ocean glow with a light that is soft and electric blue or red, sparkling and blinking like distant galaxies. For me the word “biolum” also represents the techniques I have learned and developed, the designs I have interpreted during my journey with glass. “biolum” is also a specific process of chance and intuition, all the secrets I have discovered about glass that make my vision and artwork glow.
Art making has been a life long passion and I can’t imagine doing anything else. My introduction to glass as an art medium was in a high school art class where I learned to make stained glass windows and boxes. Since then glass has been my addiction. For me the thrill of glass is not only the beauty of colors combining in light, or composing unexpected designs but the many forms glass can take when hot or cold. I experiment continually with my heat worked glass, stained glass and mosaics and now recycled glass bottles, mixing or combining all these techniques to make something unexpected, fresh and beautiful.
I completed my BFA in Photography at California College of the Arts in Oakland California in 1998 and soon thereafter focused on glass and jewelry making. I worked closely with influential artists and jewelry designers in the Bay Area, assisting with production and designs as well as behind the scenes business, marketing and promotion of fine art jewelry.
My first inspiration for fused glass jewelry and stained glass panels hatched from imaginings of the deep sea and outer space. In 1999 I chose biolum as my studio name, to encompass both the beautiful and alien, space age and primordial. This vision continues to challenge me to create a collection of one- of- a- kind designs in stained glass, mosaics and fused dichroic glass jewelry and growing selection of tableware and cast glass pieces that are futuristic artifacts of glass, colorful beacons to light and enliven modern day.