Originally from Indianapolis, Mentz started blowing glass in high school. “I was blowing glass just as a hobby. I didn’t know that going to school for art was a possibility, but my mentor suggested I look into it,” said Mentz.
He went on to attend the Cleveland Institute of Art, receiving a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Glass with a minor in Metal Work. Mentz graduated in 2018 and after, worked as a studio technician for a glass shop.
Mentz applied for a position at Montana Western so he could continue his glass blowing career. The multiple aspects of the artist residency have afforded Mentz the ability to split his time efficiently between his residency duties and personal studio time to create artwork, all while having full access to phenomenal facilities.
“I get to do what I love to do as far as making my own artwork. I also love teaching,” said Mentz.
At UMW, Mentz has learned more about glass work while expanding his skillset. Associate Professor Michael Hengler has taught Mentz more about flame working, and visiting artist Sally Prasch also introduced Mentz to new glass blowing techniques.
“Having visiting artists is so important, especially in a workshop crash course,” Mentz stated.
In his personal works of art, Mentz likes to focus on the tactility of glass work. His college thesis project utilized interactive artwork by creating ruminating fields of thought for an individual.
“It is great when you can put something as fragile as glass together in a way where when it moves, it is safe to handle. It’s kind of a taboo, but for the most part, so is the art world,” said Mentz.
Mentz will continue his artist in residence at Montana Western through the semester. He plans to continue pursuing glass blowing as a career.
For more information about the Montana Western Glass Studio and Glass degree programs, please contact Associate Professor Michael Hengler via email at [email protected] or call 406-683-7344.