Born in Dygowo, Poland, 1956, in 1960 Janusz Walentynowicz came to Denmark with his parents who then fled communist Poland
Walentynowicz started his artistic career in Denmark as a young autodidact artist creating sculptural work in stoneware.
During his enrollment at The School of Applied Arts (then- “Skolen For Brugskunst) (1978-82) in Copenhagen, he became acquainted with the glass media, which has since been his preferred material.
Having just graduated from Skolen For Brugskunst in 1982, Walentynowicz won first Price for the Glass category, in
the annual Danish Design competition, and also, in 1982, grants from :
enabled him to accept an invitation from Joel Philip Myers, to commence further studies at Illinois State university, USA.
During his enrollment at ISU, Walentynowicz was awarded:
As the education at SFB in Copenhagen was focused mostly on industrial design, and casting glass was then still a largely unexplored discipline, it was not until his graduate years at ISU, that Walentynowicz began seeing the possibility of returning to his artistic roots using this new media, and he set out to find ways of addressing the concerns that engaged him as a young artist, prior to working with glass.
Having always had an interest in human relations, and a need to work in an expressive way, Walentynowicz eventually rested the the glass blowing tools, and decided to focus on the casting process, which seamed to offer itself better for work of an expressive and engaging nature.
Experimentation and new thinking has since the very beginning characterized Walenynowicz’s artistic path, this shown first time publicly in the US at an exhibition at Anne O’Brien Gallery in Washington, DC (1986), where cast glass, often painted and imbedded in wooden or metal structures, were hung on the wall, much like paintings. At the time, rather a novelty in the glass community.
In the years from 1987 to 1994, He worked with artist Nicholas Africano, casting Africano’s early glass figures, and debuted himself in 1998 at Anne O’Brien Gallery in Washington, DC , with his own cast figurative work, and later again on 1991,with a show at Franklin Parrish gallery in NYC, showing, what was then considered large scale, 3D figurative work in cast glass.
Participating that same year in the Contemporary Glasswork Art Exhibition “Le Verre”, in Rouen, France, The city of Rouen purchased three major pieces from this body of work.
In 1994-95, Walentynowicz also produced two full scale, life size, solid cast glass figures.
In 1988, Walentynowicz began what would develop into the “reverse paintings” body of work. A negative bass relief, in cast glass, reverse painted from the back, resulting in a 3 dimensional image, in a 2 D wall hung format. (Examples)
Working on various other projects, in the following years, the focus was mainly on continued development of the reverse paintings.
Mostly based on this body of work, in 1996, Walentynowicz received The Virginia A. Groot Foundation Grant.
In 2000 The technique eventually branched off into large scale free standing sculptures “Columns” consisting of two, reverse painted units that came together back to back, creating a full three dimensional image encapsulated in glass.
In 2005, as new investment materials became available, Walentynowicz regained interest in the 3D casting process, (Cire perdue) as the new materials now made it possible to keep a textured surface on the casts, which, for large works, was not obtainable with the more inferior materials. The body of abstract “Standing Female Figures”, -here addressing the individual, walking her way through life while having to balance the more or less fitting pieces that make up the whole, was one result of this “new” 3D cast work.
While still involved in working with the human figure, much of Walentynowicz's latest production has moved away from the figure itself and, addressing all the same concerns, he has, as so often before, again left the “safe harbor” and ventured out into the unknown.
Now working mostly in an abstract, non-figurative fashion, Walentynowicz is again challenging himself as well as his audience. The expression has changed, but for Walentynowicz, it is just a way of addressing the same subjects and concerns from a different vantage point.
Since 1992, Walentynowicz worked out of his studio in Bloomington, IL.
Due to the need for a larger studio, he relocated to Clinton, IL in 1997, and in 1999, also established a small studio in his native Denmark, where he works during the summer months, mostly involved in the disciplines of drawing and painting, as well as testing new ideas and techniques, all to bring newness and change to future work.