Stephen Knapp has collaborated with architects and designers throughout his career and has written and lectured on the collaborative process, art and architecture and architectural glass art. He is the author of The Art of Glass, featuring the world’s top architectural glass artists. His large scale public lightpaintings have all been in response to a specific location and a dialogue with the clients and architects. Some of his commissions are:
“First Symphony”, Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana
light, glass, stainless steel 23’ x 40’ x 1’
The School of Music at Ball State has long been cited for innovative programs and national leadership in music education. The architect wanted a signature piece of public art, visible through the glass façade, as well as the focus of concertgoers attention within the foyer itself. “First Symphony” was created in response to those criteria. Music and movement are very much a part of its orchestration. By reflecting and refracting light the entire 23’ x 40’ wall is filled with a symphony of color, using only eight 75W low voltage lights.
“Seven Muses”, The Charles W. Eisemann Center, Richardson, Texas
light, glass, stainless steel 31’ x 95’ x 1’
For the Grand Foyer of the Eisemann Center Stephen created a lightpainting that would “dance” across the entire wall as the signature piece for this performing arts center. At night the reflections in the glass create a twin lightpainting in space outside the building. In keeping with the Eisemann Center’s commitment to a green building, twenty 500W wall washer fixtures were removed, replaced only by the seven 75W low voltage fixtures of the lightpainting.
“Luminous Affirmations”, City Hall, Tampa, Florida
light, glass, stainless steel 80’ x 60’ x 2’
This project was sponsored by the City of Tampa, Florida as the first piece of what has become a very popular “Lights on Tampa” program. Using the blank wall of City Hall as a backdrop, “Luminous Affirmations” uses specially designed 300W ceramic metal halide fixtures. A signature public art installation for the City of Tampa, it is often featured in overviews of the city in sporting events and other televised events.
“The Definition of Possible”, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, Massachusetts
light, glass stainless steel 16’ x 37’ x 1’
Worcester Polytechnic Institute is a leading engineering school, dedicated to innovation, creativity and expanding the bounds of traditional engineering schools. “The Definition of Possible” was commissioned to showcase the marriage of art, technology, science and innovation. The Gordon Library presented a perfect canvas – a 16’ x 37’ blank wall of precast concrete. Using just two 75W fixtures the entire wall is filled with light. During the day there is an ever changing movement of color, reminding students, faculty and visitors of the importance of viewing the world from different perspectives and of what can be accomplished by an interdisciplinary approach.
“Structure,Space and Time”, Linus Pauling Science Center, Oregon State University, Corvalis, Oregon light, glass stainless steel, four locations, various sizes
Stephen Knapp’s lightpaintings grew out of the same sort of interdisciplinary study that served as the basis of much of Linus Pauling’s work. Working with the architect four locations were identified, including a seasonal wall that gets sunlight twice a year and is only illuminated by daylight, making it a discovery waiting to happen. Conceptually, one lightpainting represents structure and form, another represents crystallography, and the installation wall at the Linus Pauling Institute is about the scientific process, while the seasonal piece is about possibility and that which is not yet known.
“Transformation”, Constitution Center, Washington, D.C.
light, glass, stainless steel, 14’ x 85’ x 65’
“Transformation” runs along a 12’ x 37’ wall, works its way across the ceiling, turns a corner and then goes through a glass wall into the entrance of a Metro stop, where it again passes from a wall to a ceiling. Notice that where the light ends on the long wall it bends back up the other side, something that light cannot do.
“Stories from Light”, Women and Babies Hospital, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
suspended light sculpture, light, glass, stainless steel, stainless cables 7’ x 26’ x 26’
Stephen was initially asked to create a stained glass ceiling for this rotunda but proposed a piece in this new medium he was developing – lightpainting. Rainbows are often associated with fertility and birth. The series of lights skimming across the glass in the ceiling fills it with colored light, while ten figures of stainless steel and dichroic glass descend from the ceiling to populate the earth.
“Masked Illusions”, Riverside Theater, Vero Beach, Florida
light, glass, stainless steel 24’ x 64’ x 1’
Theater is about illusion, about actors who put on “masks”, alternate personalities, coming together to create something different. The five groupings of glass and light represent actors on the stage, working their magic and illusions, a fitting setting for a gathering.
“Trailing Light”, Oasis of the Seas, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines
light, glass, stainless steel 35’ x 50’ x 12”
In this outdoor ceiling area five sections of light make up “Trailing Light”, which represents the night sky that moves and changes with a ship crossing the sea. The fixtures were specially treated for a salt water environment.
“Untitled”, Harnischfeger Industries, Milwaukee, WI two kiln formed art glass walls 9' x 44', and 9' x 12'
With a dramatic location on Lake Michigan, changing light and weather plays an important role in these walls. The strong patterns in the glass are an abstract interpretation of the corporation, weaving large mechanical elements, gears and motion throughout.
“Chicago’s Treasures”, CNA Insurance Companies, Chicago, Illinois
kiln formed art glass, 9’ x 18’
This major art wall for CNA Insurance Companies was designed to reflect their prominence in the heart of Chicago. The “treasures” of Chicago, landmarks, public buildings, public sculpture and more, are captured here in glass.
"The Christ Doors", The Solanus Casey Center, Detroit, Michigan
kiln formed glass entry, 10' x 6'
The Solanus Casey Center is a pilgrimage center to honor the lifework of Father Solanus Casey. “The Christ Doors” were created as an entrance to the Center.
“Untitled”, Brunswick Corporation, Lake Forest, Illinois kiln formed art glass wall 9' x 28’
For Brunswick, the world's largest manufacturer of small boats, this main wall in their corporate lobby reflects the motion and fluidity of water, with assorted patterns in the glass and various artifacts sprinkled throughout.
"Untitled", Fox Chase Cancer Institute, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
kiln formed art glass wall, 7' x 24'
The flowing design represents the park-like setting of the institute and is designed to let in the exterior light and provide privacy at the same time and give viewers a place to visit and a chance to reflect.
Untitled”, Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
kiln formed art glass wall, 7’ x 15'
The freestanding glass wall represents the country setting and the irregular top relates to the time line of the Sisters of St. Agnes’ history.
"The Crystal Quilt", Love Library University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska
kiln formed art glass wall 7’ x 52'
Incorporated in the entry vestibule of Love Library, “The Crystal Quilt” is the most extensively detailed large kiln formed art glass wall in the world. The extensive collection in the library is as diverse as an original Shakespeare Folio and high tech digital music. Quotes, images, equations and more were all reproduced in incredible detail as part of the imagery.
"The New Doors" and "Southwick, Hoffman and Friends", Worcester Public Library, Worcester, Massachusetts
two entries, each kiln formed art glass, 7’ x 12’
With a rich history and a diverse community, the Worcester Public Library was well suited to a combination of text, images and abstraction. Allusions to the community, it's history and a literary past can all be found in these panels.
“Fantasy in Glass” Exhibit, Merchandise Mart, Chicago, Illinois
Stephen Knapp created the 5,000 sq. ft. “Fantasy in Glass” as a destination for architects and designers, with his architectural art glass, glass, steel and bronze furniture, sculpture and experiments in art glass thoughout this innovative space. A glass block tunnel, hanging architectural art glass walls, metal scrims, dyed fabric and sound were featured.
“The Bird”, Harnischfeger Industries, Milwaukee, WI dichroic glass, stainless steel, and cables 2' x 14' x 7'
This suspended sculpture, an abstract interpretation of a bird in flight, was Stephen Knapp’s first use of dichroic glass on a commission.
“Rainbow Harp”, CNA Insurance Companies, Chicago, Illinois
dichroic glass and stainless steel cables 13’ x 26’ x 3’
Alternately reflective and transparent, the glass is illuminated by sequenced lighting that causes patterns to dance and play across the back wall.
"The Crossroads Quartet", The Sam Nunn Federal Center, Atlanta, Georgia
four kiln formed art glass screens, each 7' x 9'
Atlanta was a crossroads, located at the convergence of various railroad ventures. The overlapping lines, historic buildings and different types of transportation are indicative of how critical this location was in the formative years of Atlanta here in the Terminus District.
“Untitled”, The Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Silver Spring, Maryland
ten murals, mosaic tile and carved slate, each 7' x 18'
Working with the architect at the early design stage of the building, Stephen looked at a variety of media before settling on carved slate and mosaic tile. Exotic slate from around the world was chosen for its tactile quality and the sense of history it fosters. 1” tiles were selected for the mosaic images as a reminder to look at things from different perspectives. The quotes deal with military medicine and research.
"Fragments of Time ", Splendour of the Seas, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines
kiln formed art glass and marble 5’ x 43' x 2’.
Marble was worked to look like ruined fragments with carved faces and hieroglyphs and then each piece was slotted to fit the glass. Glass was rough cut to look like fragments and then kiln formed to add imagery.
"Answered Prayers and Mystery", Splendour of the Seas, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines
mosaic tile and stainless steel, 6’x 65' x 3’
Fifteenth century paintings of constellations were interpreted in mosaic tile, and then rendered as broken sections of the originals. Linked ribbons of stainless steel connect the pieces.
Three ceramic murals, USAA Federal Savings Bank, San Antonio, TX
"American Odyssey", 9’ x 37’, "Homage to Shigaraki", 9’ x 25’, “The Search”, 9’ x 25’ glass glaze ceramic murals
Stephen developed new glazing techniques and new colors for this commission, working closely with the artisans in a small mountain village in Japan to make his vision a reality. At the time these were the largest glass glaze ceramic murals in the world.
"Past Visions, Future Dreams ", McDonnell Douglas, Long Beach, California
two painted stainless steel murals, each 20’ x 12’
To celebrate a company that was much a part of the history of aviation, Stephen developed a new technique of mixing paints so they would change with the angle of light. The kinetic force of these murals lent a palpable energy to the imagery.
“Convergence”, Hamilton County Justice Complex, Cincinnati, Ohio
dyed, etched, anodized aluminum 14’ x 72’
One of the world’s largest etched metal murals, this 14’ x 72’ piece for the Hamilton County Justice Complex in Cincinnati incorporates images from Hamilton County. . Most of the iconic images of Hamilton County are of Cincinnati itself, so Stephen worked with local historical associations to find representational images which he then blended as one.
“The Dawning”, Norton Company, Worcester, Massachusetts
dyed, etched anodized aluminum with acrylic, 3’ x 24’
Knapp’s first forays outside of photography were based on that medium, as he produced a dyed, etched anodized aluminum mural for Norton Company. Although totally abstract in nature, it was an allegory for the company’s many parts, reflecting the in-depth research that is a hallmark of his work. Photo transfer techniques were used to define the images.
“Untitled”, The Spa at the Heritage, Boston, Massachusetts
ceramic mural, 9’ x 61’
Stephen collaborated with the architect to create a European style spa, with art integrated throughout the project, including a large ceramic mural created as a backdrop for the pool and mosaic tile imagery on the pool bottom. Etched glass doors and walls complemented the etched stainless steel walls throughout the rest of the installation.