Born in 1967, David Willis grew up in a suburb of New York City and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Interdepartmental Field Studies from U.C. Berkeley, with an emphasis on Social Change and a Minor in Conservation and Resources Studies. Willis began working with glass in 1994 and consequently took classes at the Pilchuck Glass School, the famed center for working in the various disciplines of contemporary glass, north of Seattle, WA, in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. This immersion led to his continued growth in a diverse body of work, taking advantage of a cross-disciplinary approach to glass. His work currently focuses on the idea that the most intimate aspects of an individual’s life are universal.
In addition to his practice in contemporary art, Willis has acted as a lead assistant to some of the world’s blue-chip contemporary artists who wish to broaden their sculptural work in the media of glass. He has worked internationally as an assistant and fabricator to artists such as Jim Hodges and Kiki Smith. Additionally, he has acted as an instructor at the Pilchuck Glass School, the Corning Museum of Glass Studio, the University of Oregon, and the Penland School of Craft. Willis has been a featured artist at the Niijima Glass Art Festival, the Glass Art Society Annual Conference, and the International Flameworking Conference. In 2012 Willis was a Visiting Artist in Residence at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma.
Willis’ artwork is included in public, private, and museum collections, internationally. He has been published in books and magazines including ARTnews, New Glass Review, and Contemporary Flameworking Vol III and Lampworking the 20th Century to the Present.
He currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Pilchuck Glass School where he Co-Chairs the newly established Green Committee and is a past Director of the Glass Art Society. His work is represented by Austin Art Projects in Palm Desert, CA.