Editor’s Note: Kicks presents 20Q, which introduces readers to people involved in the area’s arts and entertainment community. Compiled by kicks Editor Greg Little, each piece includes a short bio, photo and answers to questions that provide insight into not only that person’s artistic interests but also his or her unique personality.
Working mostly in stained glass, Janesville-based artist Richard Snyder is helping make the world a more colorful place.
With an education in architectural engineering drawing, Snyder designs his own project blueprints. His drawing ability has made it possible for him to manufacture hundreds of products in companies he has run in the past 40 years.
Snyder started his first business in Fairbanks, Alaska, in 1975. There he designed and built custom furniture and cabinets while also working as a security guard for the Alaska Pipeline at Prudhoe Bay. He continues to build cabinets and other furniture today.
Through 1GlassImpressions, a glass decorating, restoration and stained glass business he opened in 1978, Snyder invented Kleen Master Sinks.
Today, Snyder continues to design, build and market his own creations. His work is available online at 1GlassImpressions.com and KleenMasterSinks.com, and he can be reached by phone at 920-382-1807 and by email at 1GlassImpressions@gmail.com.
1. What was the first art piece you remember seeing? It was on my first camping trip in the early ’60s with my three sisters, my mother and my dad. We were using the new (Dodge) Rambler my dad bought and a pop-up camper. We headed out west and stopped to see Mount Rushmore.
2. What was the first art piece you ever created? I built a wood sculpture made from wooden blocks in kindergarten at Washington School in Janesville.
3. Do you collect anything? Antique glass pieces or whole windows, glass and crystal jewels, letter openers, mini swords, glass and woodworking tools.
4. Of your five senses, which would you say is strongest? My sight. I can look at a piece of furniture or a cabinet and see how it was built.
5. Who is your favorite artist? Frank Lloyd Wright. He not only designed a building or home but everything in it—windows, rugs, woodwork, china, silverware, napkins and furniture.
6. In your opinion, are ghosts real? As stated in the Holy Book, dead is dead.
7. Sudoku, word search or crosswords? Crossword and puzzle games.
8. What inspired you to become an artist? Working with my hands. I also love to draw and design products.
9. Why stained glass? It’s the challenge of matching colors and textures together in creating a picture in glass.
10. What is your favorite food? Restaurant? Chef’s salad and breakfast at Citrus Café (in Janesville), where a friendly staff is always happy to see you.
11. What famous person in history would you most like to meet? Howard Hughes. If he designed it, he built it. A true innovator and genius.
12. Do you prefer to work on your art during the day or at night? It is my whole life’s work, and I’m thinking of new and innovative products around the clock. I have a notepad next to my bed.
13. If you weren’t an artist, what would you be? I enjoy working with students and teaching new skills. Many have doubt in the beginning of my classes, but with patience and the proper tools they complete the project. To see that joy in them is worth all the work of setting it up.
14. If someone else paid for the experience, would you jump out of an airplane? I don’t take chances. I’m not one for seeking out thrills. Life is too precious.
15. What fruit or vegetable do you absolutely hate? Okra.
16. Do you think out your work ahead of time or do you just go with the flow? I love to research parts of the design before I start drawing. I like to see how colors or shapes go hand-in-hand. All of my products have a drawing or blueprint.
17. Would you rather have 10 American dollars, 100 pesos or 1,000 yen? 10 American dollars.
18. If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you’d do? Buy an old building and restore it for a studio/gallery with living space. I’d also add a learning center for teaching youth/adults in all of the arts I perform, and then bring in other artists for specialized skills.
19. What has been your most satisfying project to date? Starting the friends group to first save and then restore Oak Hill chapel (in Janesville). It was an honor to restore the stained glass windows for the chapel, to work with friends group members, to meet and work with city of Janesville staff and to work with the city council in order to save this historical chapel forever.
20. Do things really look better through rose-colored glass? It begins with having a positive outlook on life—the ability to imagine and to take on a challenge. You can do it.
Know someone involved in the local arts/entertainment community you think would be a great subject for 20Q? Email kicks Editor Greg Little at email@example.com.