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Alumni Profile

Wayne Strattman

Dr Wayne Strattman

PhD Art and Design 2008

Dr Wayne Strattman received a PhD from the University of Sunderland for his many years of work researching, writing, advocating for, and making sculptures with neon and other advanced forms of lighted glass sculpture.

Dr Strattman is the author of the industry standard textbook ‘Neon Techniques’. He is also the owner of a large number of innovative lighting patents and products that feature techniques beyond conventional neon to make lighted sculpture items as well as commercial products that have been sold internationally. 

His Boston-based company Strattman Design has been a leader for decades in making custom sculpture, architectural installations and lighting. Strattman Design has also been a leading firm in technical development of gas discharge automotive and commercial forms of lighting for Corning’s Advanced Lighting Products Division.

Dr Strattman was attracted to the University of Sunderland after a chance meeting with Professor Peter Davies, former head of the Design department, at an international art conference in Pittsburgh.

“I met Professor Peter Davies at this conference in Pittsburgh where he heard me speak on art-based research I had been doing for 25 years. We spoke and he encouraged me to pursue a PhD at the University based on the work I had been doing. I pursued this and a few years later received a PhD by published papers.” 

He continued: “I was extremely impressed by the facilities, staff, and the active advanced degrees being delivered at the University in this glass art field. Easily Sunderland is a world leader in this field so I was very interested to receive a degree from there.” 

Dr Strattman, who completed a dual engineering and art PhD degree, admitted that the staff influenced him most during his studies.

“It was not only the physical facilities but the staff that were quite visionary in their ideas of advancing the field by encouraging art research that influenced me most during my time at Sunderland”, he said. “In my case my PhD was a dual engineering and art degree, and I don’t know of another institution that offers such a cross disciplinary program with this level of support.” 

Asked about any advice he would give to recent graduates entering the job market, he replied: “That’s a big question but one thing I emphasize to young people who work for my company is to learn to focus. There are so many distractions today that dilute your efforts and they will take you away from diving deeply into your subject area.  

“From what I have seen over many decades is that those that do focus will have a much greater chance of success than those that don’t. Approach your subject area with passion and tenacity to explore it over an extended period of time and you will be successful.” 

Dr Strattman is receiving the Glass Art Societies Member of the Year award next month at the Glass Art Society international conference in Norfolk, Virginia. Each year the Society honours and acknowledges the individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the development of the glass arts worldwide. 

Wayne Strattman

Wayne's artwork from MONA Web (Museum of Neon Art).

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