The Joker 1989

Collection of the artist

This witty self-portrait is a Whitman's sampler of glass painting techniques. The heart was formed by slumping glass over an open mold. The playing cards were created by abrading the surface of a special glass called flashed or overlay glass. The color in flashed glass is a thin layer on one side only. This surface can be removed using an acid or an abrasive to reveal the base color, usually clear beneath. In this panel, Leap wears the clothing of a fifteenth century painter. His palette displays a range of glass pigments. Details of his face and clothing were hand-painted using glass based pigments and fired in a kiln. During the renaissance, the bee was the symbol of industriousness. Here it also symbolizes inspiration.

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