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Charlie Kingsley

Long time member of OCAC, Charlie Kingsley, has many talents.  He grew

up in Connecticut with six siblings.  Although he graduated with a degree in mathematics he was drawn to the arts.  He remembers his time at Woodstock as an incredible, enlightening experience that opened his mind to arts, hippie culture, and of course the MUSIC!!  After college he took a class on stained glass and decided to move to Florida where he apprenticed as a glass blowing flame worker.  Charlie became very intrigued with the art of “hot glass” using the furnace glass blowing technique.

In the 70’s Charlie applied and was accepted into the Naples Mill School of Arts & Crafts,    

  located in Naples, NY, which accepted students from all over the U.S. and Canada.  While there he took classes in glass blowing.  He became the first recipient of a NYS apprenticeship grant for glass blowing with Nashama Glass.


Charlie credits his apprenticeships with veteran glass blowers and carpenters such as, August

Hueter and Bill Glasner with helping him to excel in those crafts.  In the 70’s and 80’s he started his own small shop in Prattsburgh, NY creating paper weights and perfume bottles along with other art pieces.  He also continued to take glass blowing classes at Corning, learning to make larger glass art pieces.   From 1995 to 2000 Charlie had a glass blowing shop, Kingsley Glass & Metal Sculpture, in Middlesex, NY and was on the Naples Art Trail. 


In the late 90’s Charlie and his partner, the late Jo Krajci, began scouring flea markets for items that inspired a different form of artistic expression – sculpture from found materials!  Charlie also continued with furnace glass blowing until 2012 when health issues caused him to stop.  It was at this time that Charlie started intently focusing on creating smaller sculpture pieces.


Charlie credits local artists, Darryl Abraham and Paul Frazer, as influencers for his art.  Charlie states that, “ My inspiration for creating art is having a need to keep an active mind.  Art keeps me sane!” 


Charlie’s sculptural style has changed over time with more socially relevant aspects subtly

included in his pieces.  For example, in his “Junior’s Time Machine” sculpture there is an

element of wind power. 


Charlie is a fan of coffee shops and cafes and at present he has acquired vintage coffee pots that can be found within his sculptures.  He uses them and other found objects such as an old water tank and copper piping.  He gets inspiration from seeing his raw materials together on a table to see how they go together until he gradually gets down to what he creates.


Charlie also tries to be conscientious about the sustainability of natural resources.  He uses mechanical means for combining materials, eschewing blow torches and electric tools.


When asked how he describes his sculptures Charlie believes that the genre of naïve art

using found objects describes it best.  He feels titles are not important to his sculptures.  Although he does title his works, he’d prefer that people don’t limit their interpretation of his art based on the titles.


At present, Charlie has come full circle back to the Naples Mill School of Arts & Crafts!  He has a studio in the original building on Lyons Street in Naples.  He would love to see the building restored as it was in the 70’s. 


Charlie is enjoying creating sculpture with more social significance but his dream project would be to create unique room environments that include mannequins.



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