Joe P. GlassRead More
by Samuel Farley, Twitter and Instagram @THC_Samuel
Cannabis has permeated American culture in many ways. Music, movies and other forms of media have embraced cannabis in some form. Glass artists, and the pieces of functional artwork they create, are a large part of that culture. Joe Peters is an example of a glass artist who showcases a wide spectrum of artistic talent and expertise via glasswork. He’s also found a unique way to get his work into the hands of influential musicians who support cannabis culture.
Joe began painting in high school and dabbled in pottery in college. His interest in pipes began when he was 18 and saw functional glass in a head shop for the first time. Around age 20, he began taking lessons, learning how to make wine goblets and glasses, and started to learn flame working, or glass blowing with a torch. About two months after his first class, he quit his part time job to make pendants in his parents’ garage. Although he loved pipes, his mom wouldn’t allow him to make cannabis paraphernalia in their garage, so he first had to pursue the more formal side of nonfunctional glass blowing. According to Joe, she was so adamant about him not making bongs in the garage that she would go in with hot tweezers and break any pipe she found him making. While his parents were stern, they allowed him to continue blowing glass, but only nonfunctional artwork.
He began going to small events, such as farmers markets, to sell his work. Initially inspired by aquatic life from a love of scuba diving, it only took five years before he was going to prestigious glass art shows, completing installations for children’s hospitals in different cities across the country and being commissioned for private work. The nonfunctional glass artwork took him far in the high-end glass craft circuit, until around 2008 when the market crashed. In 2009, he was worried that the next generation wouldn’t appreciate the artistic medium as much and began questioning his ability to make a living as a glassblower. After seeing the work of artists like Banjo, he decided to make the shift to creating functional art. By then, he had his own studio space and could comfortably start honing his functional glass craft. “It’s where I always wanted to be,” said Joe, “But it was a really good path, because if I had started off making pipes, I would be a different glass blower than I am now. I wouldn’t have all of the years of taking classes in Italy and learning to blow soft glass and all of those experiences contribute to the artistic techniques that I incorporate into my work now.”
While in Portland, Oregon in 2015, he got front row tickets to see country music and cannabis legend Willie Nelson, and decided to make him a pipe. Joe’s original plan was simply to get the pipe to him after the show. However, through a random series of events, manifestation, mutual friends and a little luck, Willie Nelson was able to see the piece beforehand, and Joe was able to give it to him personally.
Joe’s work has infiltrated the world of hip-hop as well. In early 2016, rapper Action Bronson purchased a collaboration piece from Joe, continuing to solidify the place of high-end functional glass
artwork within music culture. Joe’s work was recently featured at the 2016 Big Industry show in Denver, and it can also be seen on his Instagram @JoePGlass and will also be on display at the Heaterz Glass Show later this year on December 9th and 10th at the Space Gallery in Denver.
Featured Artist: Brian Scott HamptonRead More
by Caroline Hayes
One of my many jobs at THC Mag is to find an artist every month to feature, which is so fun for me as an art-lover to discover new talent. A couple months back I was browsing Instagram and discovered Brian Scott Hampton, which led me to the Threyda collective, which led me to Peter Westermann who was last month’s featured artist (thank you Instagram). Brian (and Peter) showed a great deal of enthusiasm to be featured in THC Mag and was thoughtful in his answers, which is so appreciated. His style has a very soothing yet powerful look to it, like the universe is trying to communicate a message to you through his artwork.
Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Brian Scott Hampton and I create for a living, mostly as a studio artist.
Are you a Colorado native?
No, I was born in El Paso, Texas and raised in Owasso, Oklahoma.
Blooming Odyssey What mediums do you use to create your pieces?
I use acrylic paint and spray paint mostly, but nothing is off limits.
What’s the longest you’ve ever spent on one piece?
I prefer to finish work quicker, so probably a few months at most.
Can you tell us a bit about your artist process? How do you get in the groove and what keeps you motivated?
My process involves a lot of letting go, and letting exciting things outside of myself happen. I prefer to focus on expression and spontaneity, rather than perfection and technique. Good music always helps me get in the groove, along with a potent indica. I generally get a good amount of motivation from observing inspiring aspects of the world we live in. Inspiration is all around us.
Professionally speaking, what are your goals?
I prefer to focus on what I feel adds to the sustainability of this creative journey, and goals are always evolving as we evolve. So at the moment, one of my largest goals is to simply be an influence.
Depth Charge Last month, I featured Peter Westermann. What is your perspective or thoughts on the Threyda artist collective here in Denver?
I’ve felt as though Denver literally pulled Threyda here, along with myself. The look and feel of the group seems perfectly suited to the city of Denver, and we are reminded of that quite frequently.
What artist, if any, do you identify most with?
The answer to that question depends on which part of my creative persona is dominant that day.
What do you think is the most inspiring place in Denver?
Well, as a visual artist I would say the RiNo district. It’s tough to top all the creative scenery there.
Where can interested buyers find your work to purchase?
Threyda.com would be the first place to look. I also sell work through social media.
Brian Scott Hampton in the studio Please tell us anything else you would like us to know about you, life, your career, etc.
Remember to explore, experiment, and be free.
Thank you for your time Brian. May your artistry bring you great things.
Someday K: Kevin WeinreichRead More
Monreaux MonroeRead More
Having a father rich in carpentry skills, Ruthie Monroe learned how to use power tools at a young age, developing a deep love and respect for the trade. This helped shaped her passion for furniture as an adult, and as a result Ruthie creates beautiful, psychedelic, imaginative and playful functional tables, rugs and coasters under the name Monreaux Monroe. Based out of Austin, Texas near Lake Travis where she grew up, Ruthie earned an education through the California College of the Arts. Her Honeycomb Tables may appear to be similar but are in fact custom made, making each and every one of them 100 percent unique compared to the next. This woman’s art is so original we were very excited to educate our readers about her. THC: It says on your website that you use recycled and found materials to create your pieces, can you tell me a bit about that? RM: When I lived in Oakland, there was so much junk that people had thrown away and just left on the side of the road. I frequently would pick up furniture that was dumped and reupholster it or paint and coat it in resin. I would really like to get back into making one-off pieces with recycled furniture, but lately I have been so busy making honeycomb tables that I haven’t been doing as much of that, but I still try to use recycled materials whenever I can. For my coasters that I make, I use scrap pieces of wood and scrap paper, which is laser cut into the honeycomb pattern, which is then spray painted and coated in resin. Also, the ecofelt rugs are made from a material that is made from recycled plastic bottles. I love using this material because it is naturally stain-resistant and can be washed and dried. I would really like to look into what other kinds of fabrics can be made out of recycled plastics. THC: Can you tell me a bit about the creation process of making the Honeycomb Tables? RM: Creating the honeycomb tables is definitely the most complicated thing I have set out to make. It took me three years of trial and error to understand what materials to use and where to use them. The tops are made with three pieces of laser-cut plywood, spray paint, and two different kinds of resin. I use a clear epoxy resin to fill in the honeycomb holes, and a self-leveling coating compound for the final coating on the top. If there are bees, I paint bees in the top before I put the last coat of resin on the table. The legs are made of a castable urethane plastic, which is meant for creating machine parts. It looks like glass, but is strong enough to run a car over without having them break. It’s actually an amazing material! It took me a very long time to get the legs just right, and I’m still working on a more efficient casting process, but the current system is working for now. I cast the urethane plastic into silicone molds that I have made, and put the molds inside a giant pressure pot which cures the material under 60 pounds of pressure so that there are no bubbles or imperfections in the drips. I cast the legs with a metal pin inside of them, which then screws into the bottom of the tabletop. Once the drips have cured, I then dip them in a lacquer, which makes them extra shiny. The whole process of making a table takes about a week because of cure times. THC: How are the eco-felt rugs made? RM: The process for the rugs is really simple, but extremely time consuming. Basically I just cut every piece out by hand, and then glue them with an industrial silicone to a felt backing. Before I start, I usually will have a general idea of how the colors should go, but every one turns out a little different because the process isn’t an exact science, and that’s what I love about it. That’s also what I love about the coasters and the Honeycomb Tables, even though there are similar color patterns, they’re all painted with spray paint and they all look slightly different. I couldn’t make them identical if I tried. THC: Visit her website www.monreaux-monroe.myshopify.com to check out more of her works or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org to start the process of ordering a custom Honeycomb Table or eco-felt rug from her.
“I’m particularly interested in using functional objects because it is more accessible, everyone already understands on some basic level how to interact with these objects that one might see in an average home. But each object has a psychedelic twist, reminding us that the everyday doesn’t have to be average.” Ruthie Monroe
Naomi HindsRead More
DIET & MantraWorks GlassRead More
Amanda SageRead More
GE SommerfeldRead More
Every once in a while, an artist reaches out to us (instead of the other way around) at THC Mag and every once in a while their work is cool enough to be featured. Colorado native Greg "GE" Sommerfeld creates beautiful, original, functional pipes out of various materials. I had the pleasure of asking GE a few questions about his process and how he got into the art of sculpting pipes.
THC: What can you tell us about your pipes in regards to what they are made of and where they are created?
GE: I work out of my garage and backyard crafting each pipe as an individual, as though I was keeping it for myself. I tend to keep them if I fall in love with them. The materials used are stone and deer antler. Sometimes a brass tube is used as a connector. **Please note: No animal lost its life for the antlers. Antlers are dropped and regrown as a natural cycle. Also, it is illegal to harvest antlers in Colorado. Forest critters chew on them for the mineral content.
THC: Are all the pipes fully functional?
GE: Each pipe is fully functional and needs to be cleaned with a pipe cleaner when it starts to draw with difficulty.
THC: What mediums are used to make them?
GE: My favorite medium for sculpting is stone, which provides plenty of material and has color, adding life to the piece. My favorite stone is dark green frog skin serpentine, from east of Casper, Wyoming, which when finished looks as good or better than jade. I enjoy the antler for different reasons. It has an ease of cutting [I use a rotary tool & files] and the challenge of only having from 1/16 to 1/4 inch of usable material. Antlers are thicker than that, but the inside has a different texture than the outside and so I try not to touch the inside.
THC: So, who is GE Sommerfeld?
GE: Born in Northeastern Colorado, my young adulthood was spent in Loveland. I started carving at age 12, sold my first sculpture at age 16 and played around with carving wood until the ‘90s. After returning from Vietnam in 1970, I found a different culture than before I left. In the space of two years, pot had been introduced into Colorado’s culture via the underground. Of course, you were an outlaw if you smoked pot. After indulging for a brief time, I found that the biggest majority of the "rage & frustration" [PTSD?] I felt after my return was now manageable. The added benefit was I began to have better interpersonal relationships and my art seemed to be better as my imagination soared. Because I couldn’t roll a good joint, even with a helping device, I went to Mellow Yellow, Ft. Collins’ oldest head shop, and purchased a wooden pipe from India. I sculpted that pipe and started enjoying a "trouble free" smoke. I use to trade a pipe for a lid [a bag of weed], but in those days [the ‘70s] a lid went for approximately $15.00. I imagine half full of stems, seeds and sometimes pebbles. In the 1990s I sculpted my first stone sculpture from Colorado red sandstone. Experimenting with lots of different stone I found that it was my medium of choice. Although more difficult to work, the resulting sculpture is worth the effort. My subject matter is usually a character with some distorted features. My major art influence has been from Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso. I enjoy the weird, the different and the disjointed. I have been in a number of art galleries in Oregon & Colorado. I have also shown in four of the Loveland sculpture shows throughout the years. To view my wood, bronze and stone sculptures please go to www.gesommerfeld.com.
THC: Where can interested buyers find your work?
GE: Being a "one man circus" I do not have a lot of inventory, each pipe takes a minimum of six hours to complete, most take longer. I currently have two outlets and both are on the way to Rocky Mountain National Park via I-25 to Highway 34 through Loveland and Estes Park. If you want to feel what the pipe is really like go to the following locations: Benign High Art Gallery and Smoke Shop in downtown Loveland or Beavers Den Leathers west of Loveland on your right after the tall wooden Indian brave sculpture.
THC: What advice do you have for any possible future sculptors in America?
GE: Do everything for yourself and share it with others. Never stop reading and learning new things or you will grow old. Enjoy anything and everything. Life is short.GE’s works can be found at www.xtremetoker.com, where all pipes are viewable.
2BA: Glassworks by Alex UbatubaRead More
by Caroline Hayes
We couldn’t think of a better artist to feature for THC’S 420 issue. Alex Ubatuba, a.k.a 2ba, is a staple in Colorado’s glass scene. Vibrant colors and insanely original techniques are just a few of the fantastic qualities 2ba’s glasswork exhibits. His work has shown a variety, from pipes to sculptural art, over the years.
We are excited to introduce him to you (if you don’t already know his work) because 2ba is an artist who truly shows growth and improvement in his work, and that is one of many reasons we are excited to showcase some of his new and old works this month. He’s a true leader when it comes to the glass industry.
THC: How did you get into blowing glass?
2BA: I wanted to learn how to make a glass pipe.
THC: What’s the most important thing you have learned either about yourself or the trade since you first started?
2BA: Making anything out of glass requires lots of patience. I have been working with glass for almost 15 years now, yet am still learning new techniques and aesthetics to explore constantly. It can take a lifetime to master the craft of blowing glass and I plan to do so as long as I exist.
THC: From where do you work?
2BA: I currently work in a studio called The Portal outside of Denver. It is a great facility my friend Calvin Mickle (Calm Glass) and I built two years ago.
THC: What do you hope to achieve through your talents?
2BA: I hope to move into architectural or permanent installations with the Living Light Sculptures. I am just waiting for the right opportunity or person to surface. We have all the equipment necessary at the studio to make some incredibly large-scale installations, with a combination of skill from some of the world’s best contemporary lampworkers. I know I will be able to give back more than I currently can if it takes off.
THC: Tell me what you are currently working on.
2BA: I have recently been making the largest components to date for the next Living Light Sculpture. These pieces will be on a whole new level of scale and are extremely challenging to finish. I’ll be working on a few new projects throughout the year.
THC: What’s your favorite piece or collaboration you have done?
2BA: My favorite pieces are the Living Light Sculptures. They are frosted clear glass with a rainbow display of LEDs to light them up. The pieces started as a fun piece called "Europan Invertebrates" to make for the 2012 Sonic Bloom festival in Colorado. I realized what the impact of large scale and vibrant art can bring to people, as well as the opportunities that can arise. The sculptures shift through the spectrums of light to make the appearance of the organism being alive or breathing. Most people that observe them take a certain amount of time to explore the piece versus glancing and going to the next object.
THC: What or who is your biggest inspiration in life?
2BA: My parents for working as hard as they did to provide the opportunities they did for my sisters and brothers. I strive to work as hard as they did.
THC: Please name something you’d like our readers to know about you or the glass industry.
2BA: The glass pipe industry has seen some major growth post legalization. It’s an exciting time because of the abundance and amount of people doing it now, which has allowed many talented artists to push the limits of the material. What you will see are some of the most advanced bodies of work begin to surface from some of the most highly skilled in the industry. Every year you think you have seen the peak of technique and advancement of the art, but then something gets made that turns everyone’s head sideways all over again. It’s amazing to witness the progression of the industry since the federal raids disrupted the entire industry in 2003. Now with legalization, many artists feel safe to create and show the face behind it as well. I know I am personally trying to make the most complicated pieces I can while the progression of legalization keeps moving forward. It’s a good time to show what we are capable of as artists. I feel some great designers and artists beyond glass will surface from this industry over time.
THC: With that being said, please remember to support local artists as much as possible. Wouldn’t you rather support the guy down the street verses something imported from China? Thank you so much for your time, 2BA!2BA’s work can be viewed in Denver at Illuzion Glass Galleries and Explore Glass Art Gallery in Denver. Make your 420 weekend complete by stopping in one of these shops to shop some of the country’s best glassworks and catch 2BA’s lively art in person. Follow him on Instagram @alexubatuba to view his work.