Glass artist Wilfred Grootens was born in Uedem, a small town in the German countryside near the Dutch border. At the age of fifteen, he began training as a glass and porcelain painter with Hein Derix in the nearby town of Kevelaer, where he apprenticed for four years. In 1973, Grootens left Derix Company to begin an eight year adventurous journey of discovery. During this time span he received a Technical Diploma in design, worked as a freelance artist for several studios, traveled throughout Asia and South America and focused on a self-taught pursuit of music. He also re-visited his glass work and began the first experiments that would lead to his career as a glass artist. In 1988, he received a Master Craftsman’s Diploma in Munich and in 1989 he moved to Kleve and opened his own studio.
Grootens’ current glass work uses the optical float technique. He paints on layers of glass and assembles them in stacks, laminating them together to create cube forms. The cubes are cut and polished to perfection. Pieces in the series, “Where the Shark Bubbles Blow”, are made from up to 35 layers of glass. The painted surface is reflected on the planes of the cube; duplicating itself in one view, disappearing entirely in another, creating a dizzying display of optical illusion and geometry as art.