Art

Joe P. Glass
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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.

Joe P.  Queen Bee - Honey Hemisphere) Collab with Jupiter Nielsen, photo by Samuel Farley, Twitter and Instagram @THC_Samuel

Joe P. Queen Bee - Honey Hemisphere) Collab with Jupiter Nielsen

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 P. Ti-pi Biosphere by Samuel Farley, Twitter and Instagram @THC_Samuel

Joe P. Ti-pi Biosphere

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 Hampton
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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.

Brian-Scott-Hampton2

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.

Brian-Scott-Hampton3

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-Hampton4

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.

Facebook: Brian Scott Hampton, Instagram: @brian_scott_hampton, Website: threyda.com

Someday K: Kevin Weinreich
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by Caroline Hayes Being in the right place at the right time can bring you many things: money, fame, meeting the “right person” but for me that meant going to brunch at my favorite local spot in Lakewood where I discovered Kevin Weinreich, a.k.a Someday K’s artwork. As soon as I entered The French Press I noticed that the artwork on the walls had changed, I also noticed that I really liked what I saw. I jotted down his information, sent him an email asking him to be in the November issue of THC Mag, and here we are. Someday K is a Colorado artist whose work is exploding with deep meaning and whimsical imagery. The expansive use of color is very attractive. Discovering a new artist is just so exciting. I hope THC’s dedicated readers enjoy this artwork as much as I have been. Someday K 2 THC: Where do you live and work from? SK: I am originally from Fort Collins but I have been living in the Denver area for the past 11 years. I bought a house in Lakewood, which is now my home/office/studio and place where I dream and make food. I have a six-color screen printer, a 44-inch plotter printer, a garage woodshop where I make frames and stretch prints, and a few rooms for painting and computer work. It’s a nice set up. THC: What’s your artist background? SK: I have been drawing since forever but really haven’t been painting and selling art [un]til about five years ago. I have always loved art but it wasn’t [un]til I discovered graffiti art did I really discovered freedom in style, colors, linework, and imagery. I love Hip Hop too. I also have a degree in graphic design from the Art Institute of Colorado. I was a graphic designer for six years right out of school and art director for the same company for two years. As of August 10, 2015 I became a self-employed artist and I am loving it. Someday K 3 THC: Tell us about the techniques you use to create your works. SK: I love linework. Black, clean linework. It’s my true zen. Throw some solid mellowdies on and I can draw for days. When painting I usually make a mess and throw down the prettiest colors I can, [and] just get funky with it. Then I clean it all up and finish it off with black linework using an ultra fine Sharpie felt tip on watercolors, or rock an oil based Sharpie when doing canvas work. Sharpies all day. I also do a lot of digital painting in which I have a black and white ink drawings in my sketchbooks and bring them to life using Photoshop and Illustrator to make color and texture magic happen. THC: I see that you retire prints after you make so many. How many prints do you usually make before you retire them and what’s your theory behind that? SK: I retire prints to add value and to show appreciation of people that support my art. I don’t number my prints but they are all signed and titled on the back so they are official and certified. When retiring prints it just adds an exclusivity factor that I think art [and] print collectors can appreciate. Once again it adds value. I appreciate all of my supporters with all my heart and want them to know their investment when buying my art is exactly that - an investment. I have no plans of slowing down, only getting stronger - so invest! Someday K 4 THC: Who are some of the artists that inspire you? SK: I don’t follow a lot of visual artists. I try not to view others work because I don’t want to steal ideas subconsciously nor have my vision tainted. The ones I do follow are classics: MC Escher, Salvador Dali, Dr. Seuss, and modern street artists: Aryz, Sainer and Bezt along with Alex Pardee, Jeremy Fish and Travis Parr (Icelantic skis). The artists that really inspire me are musical. I make art to listen to music. Music by artists like Atmosphere, Aesop Rock, Blockhead, Outkast, 2Pac, Eminem, Pretty Lights, Grouch and Eligh, J.Cole, Wu Tang Clan, and even some Nine Inch Nails. Music is my heartbeat. THC: I discovered your artwork at a restaurant in Lakewood. Where else are you displayed? SK: The French Press in Belmar was great place to hang art. Lots of love from there and a great breakfast/brunch spot. It’s one of the many places I display my work. I have permanent installs that I restock frequently at the Sol Shine, a great local boutique, art gallery and yoga studio in the highlands. Megafauna, a great all local, urban Colorado apparel and art shop in the Rhino District, all 3 Sticky Buds dispensaries, all seven Way to Grow stores, Crisp Barber Shop in Lakewood off Garrison and 6th, Crazy Mountain Brewery up in Beaver Creek, Urbane Clothing Store in Steamboat, the VFW Post 1 civilian gallery on Sante Fe I donate 20 percent of all my earnings [to them]. Sun Valley Medical Certification Clinic in Arizona, Good Times Rafting in Buena Vista, and My Buddy and Me Natural Pet Store in Centennial. I might have missed a couple but I am constantly getting into new places and also doing art festivals in which I advertise on my website usually. Really want to get into mural work. Someday K 5 THC: Do you have a favorite piece that you’ve done? SK: It’s hard to say what my favorite piece is. They are all part of me. I usually pick the one that is the least popular at the time so it doesn’t feel bad but if I were to choose it would be ‘No Splash’ (theme song to it is ‘No Splash’ by Aesop Rock). ‘No Splash’ is a sort of self-portrait. It is about going to the beat of your own drummer and no matter how messed up or perfect your world is, you’re still the king of it and the world is yours. THC: What are your life goals? SK: I could go off on this with art aspirations for days but to keep it truly simple, which it really is, is to just be happy. Be where I love, with who I love, doing what I love. At peace. Someday K 6 THC: What are you currently working on? SK: I am always working on quite a few things. Constantly working on commission paintings, personal paintings, personal digital art, apparel designs, accessory designs, keeping stores stocked with fresh art as well as doing a bit of freelance graphic design. I have been working with a brilliant mind, Reyna Bryan, with her program called Recycling is Sexy. The program is about spreading awareness and knowledge to the masses. It’s about helping save the planet and everything in it by recycling, reducing waste tremendously, and repurposing everything. I am helping her out as her art director to bring some colorful imagery to her marketing tools and eye-catching informative materials. It is a great project, run by a very driven soul who truly just wants to help save the planet. It’s awesome. I am also working with a extremely kind individual by the name of Rita Devassy. With her fresh company Deva Seed, she plans to and is already doing inspirational and motivational workshops with adults to help them organize a busy, leadership, lifestyle. She’s helping adults create more creative solutions for the daily grind and really just exploring ways to cut out the stress we build up in our lives through our careers. She is a very innovative and motivated lady with a very strong purpose. THC: One more thing. Why are you called Someday K? SK: Needless to say, I remain very busy and my motto is “no days off [un]til all days off”. I am accepting commission work as well as new design clients. Email me at [email protected]. Someday K 7 Website: www.somedayk.com Email: [email protected] IG: @therealsomedayk FB: SomedayK or Kevin Weinreich Twitter: @therealsomedayk Recycling Is Sexy: www.recyclingis.sexy Deva Seed: www.devaseed.com UPCOMING SHOWS: -VFW POST1 FOR FIRST FRIDAY ON SANTE FE - DEC 5TH -CHRISTMAS ART SHOW IN FORT COLLINS DEC 6TH-7TH @ 1400 WEST LAKE STREET -BOULDER GIFT FEST @ THE BOULDER YMCA - DEC 13TH -LAST CHANCE GIFTS @ THE BOULDER COUNTY FAIRGROUNDS - DEC 20TH Someday K 8
Monreaux Monroe
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by Caroline Hayes

“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

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. Monroe2 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. Monroe3 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. Monroe4 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. Monroe7 THC: Visit her website www.monreaux-monroe.myshopify.com to check out more of her works or email her at [email protected] to start the process of ordering a custom Honeycomb Table or eco-felt rug from her. Monroe6  
Naomi Hinds
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by Caroline Hayes Based out of Denver, this Canadian-born, Caribbean-raised gem and mineral connoisseur creates a delicate balance where form meets function by turning nature’s bling into gorgeous, wearable adornments. Naomi has traveled the world, creating and connecting with all types of people, music and the gifts of the universe. These adventures reflect on her kind, carefree attitude, love for life’s greatest adventures – and pretty, shiny things. On any given weekend during the summer you can find Naomi at a music festival with her Naomi Hinds Designs booth set up, slinging gems, minerals and handmade jewelry.
Opal Ring

Opal Ring

THC: You were born in Canada and raised in the Caribbean, how do you feel this has shaped your artistic abilities? NH: I’ve never thought about the direct influence. It has definitely given me a broad perspective and shaped me as a person to have such diverse roots. What has most shaped me as an artist is my lifelong love for gems and minerals, which is certainly from my time in Canada (and my Mum’s best friend). In Ontario there is a definite rockhound sub culture and I got just enough exposure to get completely hooked! I was the little girl who brought a piece of pyrite home as my souvenir from Disney. In Guyana I was a part of a very colourful culture. From where I lived there was a Hindu Temple three blocks one direction and Muslim mosque two blocks the other direction. I used to stare endlessly at the West Indian ladies’ amazing jewelry and vibrant clothes. That rainbow array of colours and sparkle has definitely made it into my aesthetic.
“The Music of Spheres” Stilbite with cavansite and large cavensite nodules, peridot, topaz, citrine, natural diamond accentes with fine silver and 14K gold

“The Music of Spheres”
Stilbite with cavansite and large cavensite nodules, peridot, topaz, citrine, natural diamond accentes with fine silver and 14K gold

THC: What has been your biggest inspiration in your life? NH: More than anything, the example my parents set of finding your passion and following it endlessly. The gems and minerals are constantly different, no two specimens are the same and they remain my biggest passion. I started making jewelry because I had a pocket full of rocks that I wanted to wear. Many times I was making things I intended to sell and I would move on to making something different because I wouldn’t remain entertained. The only thing, of all the many things I can design and make, I haven’t become bored with finding the way in which each stone speaks to me and I can’t ever see losing that passion or inspiration. THC: What’s your most popular piece? NH: My favourite designs right now are probably the stalactite jewelry I’ve been doing. The Tourmaline Gem Shades have definitely received the most notoriety. Naomi Hinds2 THC: How did that idea [of the Tourmaline Gem Shades] come to be? NH: I’ve embellished a pair of lenses by redoing or embellishing the arms of the glasses. In 2007/2008 I made the first sunglass frames for a friend who was in need. The first pair of Tourmaline Gem Shades was a commission from the curator of the Smithsonian’s mineral collections in 2009. He had a pair of tourmaline in his personal collection that he had always envisioned as glasses and heard I was the girl for the unique job. The idea took off from there. I’ve made three pairs of Tourmaline Gem Shades. They are ultimately more of a collector thing than an every day practical item, which is why I have started making Amber Gem Shades. The Chiapas amber lenses are cut from the highest of high quality amber, in clarity and colour. They are comfortable for everyday wear with kind of a “fear and loathing” tint to the lens. Naomi Hinds3 THC: Where can Coloradans find your work this fall? NH: The next big show I’m doing is here in Denver. The Denver Gem and Mineral show where I will be set up at the Merchandise Mart as part of the Lapidary Artist Collective. I travel a lot for shows and do most of my work one on one. THC: Where do you source your gems from? NH: I have been going to gem shows almost my whole adult life and have really great relationships with people directly involved in either mining the stones or bringing them from the mine into the country. As much as possible I use locally mined materials (as in North American or anywhere you could feasibly drive) and more than 50 percent of the stones I use are cut by lapidary artists with whom I’ve formed friendships.
Stalactite necklace lavender amethyst and brilliant labradorite

Stalactite necklace lavender amethyst and brilliant labradorite

THC: Favorite stone/gem? NH: I don’t think I have a favourite... singularly.... I think they might all be my favourite at different times in my life, and I generally wear what I’m in love with currently. What I’m wearing right now and the reasons I love them: Alexandrite, this one is a natural crystal from Tanzania and has beautiful color change and a bit of a cat eye effect. Ethiopian Opal, cut by artist Kevin Smith in Tucson AZ, that has a rainbow dance and all sparkle. Amazonite, which has deep blue/green crystals from Teller County, Colorado that naturally have the perfect angles and shape for jewelry. THC: What kinds of metals do you use for the wire wrapping part? NH: I work in precious metals, silver and gold. Most of the settings are in sterling silver and the woven work in .999 fine silver. I love the look of mixed metals and adding gold accents into predominantly silver pieces, or visa versa. The 18K pieces have been more upon request but I seem to be inspired to do more all gold designs of late. THC: Please tell us about some of the awards you have won. NH: Well, nothing really of huge note. A few “best of shows” for my art booth, a “most innovative” after this years’ Tucson gem show, “people’s favourite” from another art show. THC: Well that’s definitely something! Naomi Hinds7 THC: What’s the coolest thing that has happened to you as a successful jewelry artist? NH: To be successful jewelry artist is the coolest thing that has happened! If I can do this for the rest of my life, I will be happy... and happiness is the greatest success! Thank you for your time and inspiration Naomi! In addition to her pre-made pieces, Naomi offers custom made pieces where she works independently with the buyer, helping him or her choose the perfect combination gems. At www.naomihindsdesigns.com interested buyers can view her “Design Shop” to see works already in progress, and help shape the vision from there.
DIET & MantraWorks Glass
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by Caroline Hayes I had the pleasure of meeting DIET at this year’s BIG Industry Show. His booth was set up next to an artist who we had featured previously who introduced us. What I saw from DIET’s glass was that it is exciting, colorful, and playful, with a great balance of form and function. We chatted for a few and lined up an artist feature for an upcoming issue of THC Mag. When I swung back by to get his info, he gave me a beautiful pendent (shaped like the one on the next page), as a token of his generous spirit. With that said, this month I introduce to you DIET of MantraWorks Glass. THC: Where are you based? DIET: Philadelphia, PA. THC: How long have you been blowing glass? DIET: Eight years all together. I started with bead work, followed by a few years of exploring the medium through furnace work. I was then able to land myself on the torch full time in an environment that increased my technical skills and knowledge of the industry exponentially. THC: What kinds of mediums do you use to create your glass? DIET: Up until this point I have stayed inside of the realm of borosilicate for creative purposes. However, my most recent body of work, “Divine Nature Series,” has given me the opportunity to incorporate high-frequency stones. This addition amplifies the conceptual and functional nature of the work, providing greater benefits to the user. Diet 2 THC: What or who is your biggest inspiration? DIET: The conceptual aspects of my work are drawn from personal experience and my understanding of the surrounding world. Aesthetically, artists and designers who create work that speak to a high degree of form, function, and innovation have inspired me to be the maker that I am today. THC: What do you hope to achieve through your talents? DIET: I hope to achieve the ability to live a highly philanthropic lifestyle while creating and doing what I love. THC: Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years? DIET: Broadly stated, I see myself continuing to do what I do now on a larger scale and with an impact on the global audience.DIETxZachP_IdiotClock THC: Is there something you have experienced in your life that has made you view the world differently, either good or bad, and in turn influenced your art? DIET: In my younger years I had the pleasure of experiencing the darker aspects of the world we live in. These valuable experiences have allowed me to view our existence in its true nature, solidifying a larger view of the work that we, as functional glass artists, have to offer the community. In our true essence as makers, we have the ability to not only provide works of great aesthetic and technical admiration, but vessels that encompass greater benefits on deeper levels. THC: What other hobbies do you have? DIET: I enjoy climbing rocks. THC: What piece is your best seller? DIET: My “LightCycler” series and the “Divine Nature” minitubes are the favorites at the moment. THC: If you could do one thing to save the world, what would it be? DIET: Continue to create from a conscious perspective. THC: What should our readers know about DIET and MantraWorks Glass? DIET: One of the goals of MantraWorks and my work as an artist is to be in a position to contribute to a cause that is greater than myself and immediate surroundings. Currently, a portion of all proceeds are donated to the World Wildlife Federation to assist in the conservation of the world’s endangered wildlife species. I am constantly on the lookout for ways to give back, both monetarily and energetically. THC: Thank you for your time, DIET! Follow him on Instagram @dietglass
Amanda Sage
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by Caroline Hayes The definition of an artist is “a person who creates art, a person who is skilled at drawing, painting, etc” (Merriam-Webster). When it comes to Amanda Sage, that definition seems to leave out a whole list of qualities. One would argue that words just couldn’t define a human and her actions, but what about descriptors such as world traveler, teacher, and one who feels the breath of the universe? Can one begin to get a better idea with these? This month’s featured artist is helping to create a higher vibration worldwide with her meaningful artwork and way of life. I was just lucky enough to catch her in between journeys, on her way back from Cuba to the States. Amanda Sage2 THC: How was Cuba? AS: Cuba is incredible, so close but worlds away. There’s a special kind of magic alive there, an enthusiasm for life, music and art and there’s this feeling that everything is happening in the moment for the moment. Since there is still no or very little Internet there people look you in the eye more often, they are not as distracted. I felt more human and at the same time like I wanted to protect and help preserve this quality. I didn’t realize how much I missed it. Also riding around in these 1950s time machine cars that are all hybrids of the nation’s embargos mixed into a cocktail of need and creativity. I felt like crying often just to feel all of it. As much of a terrible thing it is to suppress people, greed is just as bad, if not worse. Greed is innately rotten. When you are suppressed you get creative with what you have. Humanity is not evolved enough to find self control so we seem to try and control each other, perpetuating pain. Why? I ask myself and how can we stop this vicious cycle. THC: What was your mission over there? AS: My mission was to experience, to absorb, and observe. It was the opening of the 12th Cuban Biennale while I was there, and I was blessed to be invited to different openings and meet many artists and beautiful people. I would like to participate in the next Biennale in two years and was checking out how things were done. It was a great learning experience on a multitude of levels, and am incredibly inspired. Amanda Sage3 THC: From a Denver native to traveling overseas to live works at Burning Man, you’ve had quite an adventurous career so far. What are some of the highlights that really stick out in your mind and have helped shape you? AS: Going to Bali, Indonesia when I was 18 made a big impression on me. I continued studying batik there and illustrated an herbal book focused on traditional uses of Balinese herbs and plants in their uses with natural birth. Also working together with the legendary painter Ernst Fuchs for over 10 years left me with incredible stories and content. Having and creating the opportunity to travel the world and meet such a variety of fascinating people has continued to influence and affirm my desire to help there be a more compassionate approach to world affairs rather then the old systems that are based on defense. THC: Tell us about teaching at the Vienna Academy of Visionary Art. AS: VAVA began out of a natural progression of years of summer workshops becoming more and more popular. There were many artists that studied with Ernst Fuchs starting in the ‘60s till now, and a nice handful of them have gone on to teach workshops all over the world. Some of these students, assistants and myself came together and decided it was time to start an Academy. The puzzle pieces came together, as they do, and VAVA opened its doors in 2013. I see it as a long time dream coming into fruition and providing a platform for artists to discover, learn and work in a group atmosphere year round. With a strong emphasis on sacred contemporary art, the exploration and focus in bringing together a rich and diverse program is the goal. I enjoyed immensely the five weeks I just spent in Vienna teaching during the spring semester, as well as focusing on expanding the academy and I look forward to returning next year. Amanda Sage4 THC: I read that you started painting on clothing about 20 years ago. What did the first ever Amanda Sage designs look like? AS: I began painting on clothing to make gifts for people. There were often organic forms and basic symbolism involved. Tribal influence with attempts at realism all mixed together to create aesthetic shapes on clothing, not far from what I am doing now. THC: What medium do you use to paint with? AS: I use anything available. Preferably oil and casein in layers, which is based on an early renaissance painting technique. Although most of my paintings begin in washes of acrylic especially if they have been started as live paintings on stage or at a festival. Then I finish most paintings in oil. Amanda Sage5 THC: Where can your works be found around Denver? AS: I’ve exhibited in quite a few group shows with CAVA around Denver & Boulder in the past years, and had a big solo exhibition at Knew Conscious in 2012. It’s high time to have another show in the area, so stay tuned there is much to come. THC: I see that all the clothing in the Amanda Sage Collection is made from recycled plastic bottles, which is awesome. Do you have any plans to incorporate hemp into your clothing line? AS: Yes, I am very interested in exploring the printing possibilities with hemp and invite any of the readers to get in touch if they have ideas and leads to expand the epicness. I would love to find a Colorado company to work with, as this is an amazing emerging market. We also just opened our collection to wholesale and brand ambassadors, so please check it out: shop. amandasage.com. Our second edition is in production now and we are more then excited to share it with the Colorado community and beyond. The fabric we are using is also perfect for layering and active wear. We are looking for shops that dig the cross pollination of art, consciousness and quality made with love. Amanda Sage6 THC: You’re a busy girl, what are your Summer 2015 plans? AS: Next month I will be attending the Sonic Bloom festival in Colorado for the first time, exhibiting, painting and giving a workshop. This is one of the only festivals I am planning on attending this summer as it is time for me to hibernate and focus on finishing some paintings as well as working towards an online workshop series and publishing the first book of my work. In September I will be teaching a five-day painting Intensive again at CoSM (cosm.org), Alex & Allyson Grey’s cultural center in New York. This will be the third year that I am teaching there, which I have to say is one of the most magical and special spots to explore and paint the dream. THC: You’ve collaborated with some big names, such as Alex and Allyson Grey. Tell us about what collaborations mean to you. AS: I have been collaborating with other painters and artists for a long time. It inspires me to dance with someone. I feel as though a part of me is inspired to come out when evoked by the right chemistry in a group or another individual. I love to explore and rethink what my approach may be and see how it may harmonize with another’s vision. I feel like when we come together we create even grander visions, calibrating a similar song into resonate harmonies. It is different than the solo vision, it is different than a conductor directing a group. The true collaboration is a dance, where one would not exist without the other in the same way, where love and tension dances and the result is a unique kind of magic. Amanda Sage7 THC: Please note anything you would like our readers to know about you, art, the world, etc. AS: Through my work and life I aim to inspire people to live a more active role in walking their talk, changing habits by example and creating reference that can be measured. It’s not about just the great ideas, it’s about the things that are produced by them. Not to wait, but to be a pioneer. To be diligent and dedicated, passionate and focused. So easily we are distracted by all the possibilities in the first world countries, now we have the challenge to focus and make conscious choices. What we wear, what we do and how we present ourselves is a reflection of who we are. Make a statement and be ready to make a statement about it. Be weary of fashion, of what is popular. Being yourself and finding things that you say yes to are your statement. As we discover ourselves lets remember we also have the responsibility of the planet and it is high time we get our heads out of the clouds and continue creating ever better ways to work together. We are connected; there is no going back. The future is our collective creation. Lets’ wake up and be visionaries, be more compassionate and honorable as every little thing counts. THC: An artist can walk through life just being “a person who creates art, a person who is skilled at drawing, painting, etc,” or they can focus on making a bigger impact on the world and using their voice to softly guide and teach others. I can only begin to wonder what we will see from Amanda Sage in the future. As for the present moment, thank you for your time and light Amanda! Check out her paintings and clothing at www.amandasage.com.
GE Sommerfeld
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by Caroline Hayes

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.

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(left) “Two piece construction of deer antler with a great expression sculpted on it.” (right) Made from a yard rock

 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.

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(left) “First place winner at the 2014 Denver County Fair, named Confused is a pipe carved in 2012 in Oregon. Made of deer antler it has a lid that swivels to gain access to the bowl. It is constructed of two pieces of antler. The “crown” of the antler is what inspired the piece. After counting the little prongs of the crown I found there were more than 20. More than enough for the fingers and toes of this little guy. There are three different characters in this pipe. There are also enough arms, legs, hands, feet, fingers and toes for one entire figure, although they don’t seem to fit properly. One of the characters is smoking a joint (draw through the joint to access the goodies in the bowl), while another is back to back in a squatting position. The third character is on the lid.”

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.

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(left) “This pipe is a work in process. Carving needs to be completed on the back of the bowl and the stem. I really enjoy creating these little guys that could become a lifetime companion for someone.” Medium used: deer antler. (right) “Second place winner at the 2014 Denver county fair, named Xtreme Toker was crafted in 1994. It Is a composite of the three pieces of antler. It has two characters carved on it, one on the front of the bowl and another under the base/bowl. This is the logo for Xtreme Toker – Unique and crafted Pipes, my web based mail order store.”

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.
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(right) “Frog skin serpentine and antler. I like to do happy characters, mostly.” Medium used: stone.

2BA: Glassworks by Alex Ubatuba
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.  

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