Luxury Las Vegas

Luxury December/January 2016-17: Art, Innovation and Design

Luxury Las Vegas continues to be Las Vegas’ premier metropolitan magazine offering Extraordinary Living for Extraordinary Lives.

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37 LUXURYLV.COM | DEC-JAN 2016-2017 C U L T U R E | A R T S A Passion for Glass and Metal Makes Couple's Art Super Hot BY MARSALA RYPKA BRINGING ON THE HEAT L arry Domsky smiles when he says his wife, Barbara, is hot. Maybe it's because he really knows what hot is. As a gaffer, or glassblower, Domsky creates stunning pieces of art made from liquid glass that has been heated to 2,200 degrees. Domsky also says his wife is his best friend and an incredibly talented artist. Likewise, Barbara is full of praise for him. The couple began working together in 1990 and married in 1994. They've come a long way since they put $20,000 on a credit card to buy a small furnace so Larry could blow hot glass and a kiln for Barbara to fuse her glass designs at 1,600 degrees. Collectors from at least 14 countries own their multicolored, multilayered glasswork and sculptures, which are available at the Wynn and Encore resorts. Their commissions include 45 glass and steel chandeliers for a project at Mandalay Bay; hanging sculptures for the high roller suites at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas; and 42 large blown-glass lit sculptures for a hotel in Taiwan. They are also proud to be among a handful of internationally recognized artists like Ed Carpenter, the late Rob Fisher and his daughter Talley Fisher, who were commissioned by the Department of Aviation to create large sculptures and art installations for McCarran International Airport. The Domskys went through a long, involved process before being approved that included background checks, going before a review panel, taking security and boom-operating classes, and creating a manual that documented everything down to the type of glue and the weight tolerance of the screws used to hang their art. The artists were paid $500,000 and given five years to complete two 90-foot-by-19.5-foot glass and metal panels they named "Cloud 9" and "Sunset Mirage." They also were given a team of five helpers a month to install them on the second floor of Terminal 2. Speaking of airports, it's interesting to note that while Larry and Barbara Domsky met in Las Vegas, they grew up in vastly different parts of the world. Larry hails from Pennsylvania, and three days after graduating high school in 1978, he joined his parents, who had moved to Las Vegas seven months earlier. "They were friends with Al Benedict, an icon in the gaming industry and president of the original MGM, which is now Bally's," said Larry. "Al is the reason I got a job as an apprentice welder and steel fabricator building some of the world's biggest scenery sets for Jubilee!" In 1984, Larry went to Los Angeles for three months to build and install a huge set for the closing ceremonies of the Summer Olympics. Then he headed back to Las Vegas where he worked as a rigger on the Lido de Paris show at Stardust and Desert Inn. In his spare time, he forged art out of metal. "I always had artistic visions as a child," he said. "Then in my sophomore year of high school, we took a class trip to a turn-of-the-century iron and glassworks factory. Watching the glass blower shape molten liquid into pieces of art blew my mind. I was amazed by the colors and the heat. That's when I knew I wanted to be an artist." Barbara's childhood was very different from Larry's. Her father, who came to the U.S. from Argentina, was away from home a good deal working as a financial manager for international companies around the world, while her American mom stayed in California where she raised Barbara and her five siblings. When Barbara was 9 years old, the family spent a year in Columbia, South America; and when she was 14, they moved to Johannesburg, South Africa, where she lived for 10 years. "I knew I wanted to be an artist from the time I could hold a crayon," she said. "My mom enrolled me in all kinds of classes that included drawing, painting, pottery and weaving. When I visited Kruger National Park, one of Africa's largest game reserves, I was amazed by the beautiful colors and patterns the tribes there used to make their blankets, which later influenced some of my glass pieces."

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