A glass-blower poised with his blow tube above a metal mould.

Nathan Jurevicius’ playful approach to designing glass

Meet Nathan Jurevicius – artist, illustrator and toy designer. He recently paid the Målerås glassworks in Sweden a visit and helped make the prototype of his design for the upcoming IKEA Art Event.

Born and raised in Australia, Nathan found his passion for art at an early age. He vividly remembers his father and grandfather, both artists, giving him and his brother plenty of opportunities to explore and create throughout their childhood. Today, he’s widely known for heartfelt character, Scarygirl, his dream-like, psychedelic animated worlds, and an array of limited edition adult designer toys.

What has it been like working with glass for the first time?

Interesting! Because it’s new for all of us, there’ve been several surprises. Seeing the process of trial and error in order to get to that perfect finished state has been a lot of fun.

A man stands before a furnace in a glassworks facility.
Nathan Jurevicius at the Målerås glassworks in Småland, Sweden.

Why was this an interesting project for you?

I love creating objects. The idea of experimenting with a material that I have little understanding of is interesting – and I’m always up for a challenge. If someone told me ‘make something in moon rock’, I’d be like: ‘Sure!’. Now that I know more about glass and the production process I would love to make an entire line in glass – maybe something half-decorative, half-functional. It has to be unique. And, IKEA is an interesting company to work with.

“I think the future of art will be about accessibility and reaching a wider audience.”

What do you love about art, toys and design?

The idea of it – that it’s a physical manifestation of a dream. I like the ability to have something to hold on to – it’s tangible – a piece that comes from your imagination – realised in a physical form. It’s kind of like sci-fi.

Thinking about toys – play is important to IKEA, and something we believe is key to a better every day. What do you think about play?

I’m a huge believer in play for adults. I help run an academy, the Pictoplasma Academy, where I’m apart of engaging students in play and other creative activities. During the first three days, we have the students play and do physical exercises. It might be awkward at first – but eventually, it actually brings them back to their roots. There’s this sense of freedom of imagination that is not guided by adult rules. We tend to view play as kind of immature, but in fact, it’s really vital in keeping us constantly young. Society gives us this idea, that when we reach a certain age you can’t be fun and playful. We are conditioned to think this way. But I believe it’s essential to everyday life. As soon as we stop playing we become old.

What do you think the future of art will be?

I think the future of art will be about accessibility and reaching a wider audience. Of course, there’ll always be an exclusive form of art, but it’s also moving into a more inclusive environment. I think that if we incorporated play into the everyday, more people will want to do art, thus making it more universal. This way, more will perhaps appreciate art even if they aren’t actively doing it.

Where will you be in 10 years?

I hope that I will be heading into my mid-century years gracefully, playfully, and hopefully, still look okay.

Cooling molten glass in a metal mould.

Fast facts about Nathan Jurevicius

Five things you can’t live without? My kids, drawing, matcha green tea, a sense of freedom, and… I do like my sleep.
Your favourite food/colour/music? I like lots of foods! Swedish meatballs maybe? But if I had to choose… pizza. Green. Electronic music.
Describe yourself in three words: Open, creative, eager.
What’s your guilty pleasure? Do I have a guilty pleasure? Well see, I don’t feel guilty about any of my pleasures.
Your favourite IKEA product? This rug that I bought several years ago – I still love it. It’s multi-coloured, made out thick wool fibres.