Today, Wayne Spink has retired as a professional artist.
However, his work will still be enjoyed by many for decades to come thanks to his contributions to Lacombe’s public art collection.
Spink is the artist behind the beautiful glass etchings on display in Lacombe City Hall and the Lacombe Memorial Centre. He enjoyed his career as an artist, but said these days he is content to do art purely for his own enjoyment.
“What I’m going to create I’m going to create for myself.”
Spink developed an interest in glass etching after seeing some examples of the art form in a book. I
t was a period where the medium was quite rare, Spink said.
“At that time there were virtually no studios to speak of doing it,” said Spink. “Even with regards to literature or books on it there was very little.”
What etchings were done were usually done using powerful acid and not sandblasting – the method Spink was interested in.
So, he taught himself the art form by researching what information he could and learning the rest by trial and error.
“When I first started, I was breaking glass like crazy,” said Spink.
In his youth, Spink was always making things and there was a creative element to most of the things he did, but it wasn’t something he was cognizant of at the time.
“I wasn’t aware of being creative growing up.”
While he had a creative spark within him, it took Spink a long time before he considered himself an artist.
Spink was well into his adulthood before he had a revelation wherein he realized that he had been an artist all along, even if he hadn’t thought so at the time.
“I couldn’t call myself an artist,” said Spink. “That didn’t happen until I was in my late 40s early 50s. I had been almost in denial. I was an artist all along, but I could never call myself an artist. Until that moment, I never felt worthy of calling myself an artist.”
But Spink still tried his hand at a career as a full time artist long before calling himself one. As a young man, he called his parents asking for their support while he tried out a new venture.
Spink got the support he was looking for and moved home with his parents. That’s when he started experimenting with sandblasting glass etching.
“I gave up everything and worked at it day and night,” said Spink.
He added that he learned a lot about the type of discipline required to be an artist.
“If you want to become something you have to put the energy into it in order for it
to materialize,” said Spink.
For the next 10 to 12 years, Spink pursued a career as a full-time artist. During that time, he was approached by the City (at that point the Town) of Lacombe and asked to do some pieces for the public art collection.
Spink begins the process of creating a glass etching by drawing a draft for the rendering of the design.
He then transfers the rendering onto the sheet of glass he will be working on.
He then attaches sheets thick sandblast resist to the glass.
Spink begins by etching the deepest parts of the design first and working his way toward the viewer as it were.
As he gets closer to the front, Spink removes more and more layers of the sandblasting resist.
Throughout the process of creating one piece, Spink will do several layers of sandblasting.
For example, his piece in City Hall depicting the Flatiron Building contains 15 layers of etching.
Of course, there is no eraser on a sandblaster, so it is important for Spink to be very accurate when he is working.
“There is no room for error,” said Spink.
He added when he does make mistakes, he has to find a way to make them blend into the design.
Nowadays, Spink has mostly gotten out of the glass etching game.
He said he stopped that when the building he was renting studio space in was sold and he had to move out and it would be quite costly for him to set up a new studio.
Instead, Spink spends his time doing different art for himself.
He said that he is dabbling in wood carving, acrylic painting on plexi-glass, and encaustic.