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Conversations with Trish Duggan

Today we’d like to introduce you to Trish Duggan. 

Trish, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I was born into a military family and I spent my early years in Guam. There I first developed a love for swimming, the ocean, and sunsets. This would later inspire much of my artwork as well as my love of surfing. I have 8 children (including 6 adopted) and have taught all of them to surf. We go on a surfing trip together to Costa Rica at least once a year. When I was 5 my family relocated from Guam to southern California. I lived there in the area until 2006 when my family moved to Belleair, FL. 

I am an artist, entrepreneur, mother of eight, philanthropist, human rights advocate, and longtime surfer. 

It is my belief that artists are the creative individuals who help put new ideas into existence. These new ideas change the world by creating the future! I am an artist who is working to change the history of art within my lifetime through my promotion, support, and participation in the great studio glass art movement. Working with glass is exhilarating! Always dynamic and changing, glass can be fluid, soft, cold, hard, opaque, transparent, and more. In order to mold glass into its art form, it must first be heated to between 2000- and 2400-degrees Fahrenheit! 

I like to work on large installations. While attending Nanzan University in Japan someone told me that if a person made 1000 Buddhas they had a better chance to reach Nirvana. I then came across the Buddist quote “Though you can conquer 1,000 men in battle 1,000 times, the one who conquers himself is the noblest victor of all.” I then decided to make 1,000 glass Buddhas. The exhibit is on display at Imagine Museum in St. Petersburg. It is my hope it inspires others to conquer life and do good in the world. 

I became seriously involved in creating glass art in 2015. Since then, I have created over ten thousand of my own art pieces in recent years. 

I chose to be a patron in the creation of the Imagine Museum in St. Petersburg, FL in 2017. The Museum Opened in 2018 with the purpose to uplift, inspire and educate our culture through this gorgeous new medium of glass art and inspire future generations of artists to create using glass art. 

I helped found Imagine Museum to support and promote talented American glass artists. The museum is located right on Central Ave in the heart of St Pete on Central Ave and 19th St. It is a hidden gem. I tell everyone that you will never look at glass the same way again. The artwork is so creative – it is out of this world in its beauty! You can also see my personal art and collaborations with artists from around the world there. 

The protection and promotion of basic human rights is another driving force behind my philanthropic initiatives. I have met with Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and have worked on multiple initiatives that protect individuals’ freedom of worship as well as freedom of expression. These are two human rights that are crucial in allowing artists and investors to thrive and build a better future for the world. 

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I was incredibly successful in business early on, however, I put my artistic skills and passion aside. I began working with glass as a medium considerably later in life. Compared to my peers I was decades behind in experience and knowledge of the craft. This would probably intimidate others but not me. Afterall, I climbed Mt. Fuji at the age of 68 and I still surf to this very day. I live by the philosophy that anything is possible if you are willing to work hard to accomplish your goals. I have since studied and learned from some of the great glass artists out there. I have had the honor to work with great masters like the legendary artists such as Bertil Vallien, Maestro Lino Tagliapietra, Martin Blank, and Martin Janecky to name a few. 

In working with these artists and many others from around the world I began to realize there wasn’t a lot of opportunity for glass artists – American glass artists in particular – to be featured in museums. In fact, there were almost no museums dedicated to promoting just glass art. I decided to help change that with the founding of Imagine Museum. 

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
Those who are close to me call me hyper-productive! Not a day goes by where I’m not up to my eyeballs in projects. 

I like to create art that makes people take a look and gives them a new perspective. I want them to think about their own lives, see if they are being the positive person they could be. The true meaning of life is to be kind and receive kindness. We are visitors on this planet. We are here for 90 or 100 years at the very most. During that period, we must try to do something good, something useful with our lives. If you contribute to other people’s happiness you will find that true meaning of life. My advice to others is to be grateful and don’t compare yourself to others, be inspired by them. Imagine that you are always positive and then become that person for the rest of your life. It makes life much more fun! 

Recently my friend Martin Blank and I collaborated on a massive contemporary glass sculpture made up of 52 large pieces titled “If a River Could Tell a Story” The work invites the viewer on the journey of the river of self-discovery. The abstract figures within the sculpture represent different influential figures throughout history including Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Mother Mary, Budhha, and others that have made an impact in this world. It is my hope that the viewer will then look at how they too can make a positive impact on this world. 

You are invited to see this sculpture by visiting Imagine Museum 

Is there anyone you’d like to thank or give credit to?
My high school art teacher Mr. Yoshio Nakamura. He taught me how to make woodblock prints. He influenced my life in a tremendous way by believing in me and giving me wonderful validation for my art which eventually led to my studying art at Nanzan University in Japan and in creating a museum! He is now in his 90s and we are still in touch to this very day. 

Corey Hampson of Hampson Galleries. Corey is an artistic genius when it comes to art curation. He helped me greatly with the Imagine Museum. He is President and Owner of Habatat Galleries inc. He has curated dozens of Museum and Art Center exhibitions throughout the United States including that of Imagine Museum. 

Marlene Rose first encouraged me to explore glass art which of course set off a spark in me. I was her largest collector at the time and so she invited me to work on some pieces with her. I was instantly inthralld! I have been creating glass art ever since. 

Jane Buckman and the amazing team at Imagine Museum. Jane is the Executive Director of the Museum. Under her leadership Imagine Museum introduced tens of thousands of people to the wonder that is glass art each year. 

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1 Comment

  1. Duby Joslin

    April 3, 2022 at 2:18 pm

    I first met Trish on 2nd beach in Newport, RI in the summer by of 11963. She was as much a creative and faso sting person then as she is now. We have stayed in touch all these years allowing me to follow her maturity and growth in all of her artistic skills. She has a wonderful philosophy on life and continues her passion for improving her own life goals and setting goals for millions around the world. Her unlimited enthusiasm and creativity is a shining star for all I of us to follow!.

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