Canopy’s Essence Comes to Life with Sculptor Otto Rigan.

Canopy’s Essence Comes to Life with Sculptor Otto Rigan.

Posted 03/19/2020

We are excited to introduce you to Canopy, our new upcoming residential community located in the East Valley’s coveted Chandler area. In fact, this picturesque, gated community is about to spring to life, and with it comes a world of botanical pleasures and a tranquil lifestyle that’s unmatched by any other community in the Valley.

To help us get acquainted with Canopy, we sat down with Otto Rigan, a renowned sculptor who’s leading the design of two sculptures that will rest amid Canopy’s pollinator garden near the community’s vine-covered, Central Pergola.

Tell us a little bit about yourself, your background and the type of art you create.

I’ve been a professional artist all my life. I completed my training as a painter at the Academia di Belle Arti in Florence, Italy, after I spent two years undertaking a stained-glass apprenticeship in San Francisco. Following the apprenticeship, I wrote and published a book about the contemporary glass “studio” movement (NEW GLASS, San Francisco Book Co., 1976). Following New Glass, I researched and wrote more books covering art or architecture while pursuing my personal studio art. It was not until I was in my mid-thirties that my interest in architecture led me to sculpture. Since then, I have produced sculpture for collectors and by commission for projects world-wide.

While my painting was principally figurative, my sculpture is more a marriage of architecture and contemporary aesthetic sensibilities.

You often use glass and stone in your sculptures. Why are you drawn to these materials?

I’m attracted to the idea of “time”. Stone has an eternal presence; its use implies permanence. My training in glass evoked a passion for light. Glass, in all its expressions, is invigorated by light. The idea of finding a direct relationship between “light” and the timeless density of stone led to the sculptures I’m known to create.

I choose stones natural in shape and cut them to add a sense of structure. While cutting, I develop cut patterns where I dig deeper into the stone and imbed hand cut clear glass. Any part of the glass that is inlaid into the stone is mirrored first, so that any light that enters the glass will reflect out to the surface. The effect is to marry light and mass, the ethereal to the physical.

What are you creating for Canopy?

For Maracay and the new Canopy community, I am creating a suite of two columnar sculptures that act as timeless sentinels growing from the desert floor. They are not meant to convey any literal message, but rather a sense that they are vestiges of the past, while implying a light-filled future. Because they are not artificially lit, if the glass is clean and if there is light, they will respond to their environment. In a hundred years, they should still “work”. When overcast, their light will be muted; in early and late sunlight, they will be brilliant; and from winter to summer, they will be seen differently, depending on the time of day and the arc of the sun.

Tell us about the technique and what went into creating this sculpture?

The limestone chosen for these two sculptures was quarried in west Texas and shipped to central New Mexico. At New Mexico Travertine, the artist shaped the larger stones into the sculpture parts, including all the incised marks for the glass. At that time the stones were shipped to Arizona where the artist assembled the parts into the two column shapes and added a stainless-steel structural rod to stabilize the tall component and act as a connection for mounting on the solid stone pedestals. The assembled sculptures were then hand finished, creating a beveled framing to all the openings where glass will be inlaid. Once the bevels were complete, patterns were made from each unit of glass that was hand cut to follow the shape of the stone, cleaned, laminated, and mirrored. After the glass is ready, the individual pieces are permanently affixed into the stone and sealed with a flexible, textured grout.

Canopy is located in Chandler and offers a world of natural wonder with the breathtaking Canopy Park. Take advantage of raised garden beds, outdoor kitchens, mini orchards, handmade sculptures and so much more just steps from your door. Entertainment is right at your fingertips and Veterans Oasis Park is just around the corner. To learn more about how you can find your place in nature, visit