Steve Chell Mirror Art & Photography and James Sampayan Lustre Lighting

Steve Chell and James Sampayan

Dolphin Gallery Exhibit

Opening Reception Saturday, August 6, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Exhibit remains through August 28

Dolphin Gallery



The August 2016 exhibit at the Dolphin Gallery features Steve Chell and James Sampayan, who represents Lustre Lighting. The opening night reception is on Saturday, August 6 from 5 to 7 p.m. and the show runs through Sunday, August 28.

Lustre Lighting: James Sampayan

Since 2004, Dolphin Gallery exhibits have featured stained glass, blown glass, fused glass, glass art and the odd Tiffany lampshade, but until this show no artist has presented only glass light fixtures as an art form. James Sampayan, representing Lustre Lighting in Sebastopol, offers interesting examples of both suspension and table lamps designed to combine practical and aesthetic qualities.


Lustre Lighting is collaboration between Sampayan, Jean Salatino and Steve Gandolfo. Sampayan met the other two during the late 1990s, when he worked with Salatino at a lighting company called 2thousand degrees that pioneered blown glass lighting sourced from American artists and craftsmen. She ran the glass cold shop there.

Each individual brings a special expertise to their enterprise. Salatino specializes in both diamond carved glass and glass color. Gandolfo, her husband, is a glass blower and a glass sand carver. Sampayan’s designs draws inspiration from nature and the environment in which the lighting is placed. This process leads them collectively to discover innovative and original designs.

The three artists created Lustre Lighting in 2004 with a mission to explore and merge concepts and craftsmanship through the medium of light with the hope of surprising, delighting, and engaging the patron with an environment enriched by color, texture and light.


This talented team of craftsmen has over twenty years of experience in fixture design and fabrication in a tightly controlled collaborative process. Sampayan has done design work at Tech Lighting after it acquired 2thousand degrees and at Shine Labs in San Francisco. Salatino and Gandolfo both graduated from the California College of Arts and Crafts. She has also worked and studied at the Pilchuck Glass School where she received the prestigious Pilchuck Centerpiece Design Award in 2001.

Examples of both table lamps and suspension lamps in the Nova, Reed, Champagne, and Basalt series in various colors can be found online at where those interested can also order a full catalogue of available lamps and fixtures. Lustre Lighting is committed to working with its clients, their architects, builders and interior designers to create a superior custom product that is both functional and an artistic statement.

Steve Chell

Best-known in coastal art circles for his mixed media mirrors, Steve Chell has expanded his artistic offerings with his abstract color photographs reproduced on aluminum.


Fascinating shapes, textures, colors and the play of light and dark are what Chell seeks in his abstract photos.  They are found in the light beamed through a fused glass vase, in the graffiti left on an abandoned railroad car, and in the reflective ripples of a quiet stream.  They are everywhere we look.

Perhaps more accurately, they are where we rarely look. Chell points his camera at these special places to capture the hidden beauty in their detail.  He calls it “painting a picture in pixels.” His dye-infused photos of different sizes are framed in a variety of configurations, and they also are used as decorative strips in his mirrors.

For his mirrors, Chell uses combinations of different color mirrors — primarily gray, bronze and copper — and textured glass, under which he places handmade paper, flame-treated copper strips and other materials for unusual and striking effects.


Chell’s award-winning work can be seen at the Dolphin Gallery in Gualala, the Edgewater Gallery in Fort Bragg, and at the Mendocino Art Center.  This will be his fourth show at the Dolphin since he and his artist-wife Carol moved to Gualala in 2006.