Wesley Neal Rasko doesn’t remember a time when he wasn’t drawing, sketching, doodling, painting or sculpting with clay. Being involved in the before and after school programs at elementary school, the Wildflower Art Centre and optional art classes throughout his entire formal educative life, he expressed himself artistically. The natural extension of this talent led him to enroll in the Alberta College of Art and Design. After finishing his first year in sculpture, he and his father traveled to Europe and visited their ancestral “home” in the Czech and Slovak Republics. Rasko was influenced too by his father, a passionate art collector, who had developed friendships with artists – learning about what motivated them and where the art “came from.” His father realized that collecting additional 2D art would be almost impossible due to lack of space. This revelation led to visiting glass art galleries and subsequently two masters who worked in cast glass, one of whom was Prague-based artist Bohumil Elias.
“Arriving at Elias’ home, a vast number of overhead lights were turned on which brought to life all the colorful glass sculptures which filled the space with a magical aura. My jaw dropped, I fell to my knees and was left awe-stuck by the beauty that stood in front of me. Within a few minutes my life changed as Bohumil made me an offer which simply couldn’t be refused: to stay with him and learn as his apprentice. My father traveled back to Canada on his own, leaving me with my new master and mentor in life.”
Though Rasko’s life took a different turn after some time in Elias’ studio, he finished a two year stint studying engineering in Calgary. He then worked as a civil engineer and returned during breaks to work in the Czech glass studio, eventually opening his own studio north of Prague. Still unclear about his future career, a death-defying experience in a triple roll over accident defined his belief that God intended for him to survive and use his newly found passion to devote his life to expressing his creativity through glass art. Rasko currently travels internationally, returning happily to his home studio in the Czech Republic.