Glass and Hash in the Pacific North West: The Story of Stormin NormanRead More
by Samuel Farley, @THC_Samuel
Stormin Norman has made a name for himself in the glass art community over the last few years. Norman grew up in Seattle, Washington, where cannabis is a part of the culture of the city. For Norman, the introduction came in high school, and the more he got into cannabis, the more curious he became about the utensils used to consume the plant. “Pipes are a tool that go along with cannabis, so I just became more aware of the culture when I first started smoking,” says Norman. In his early 20s, Norman stepped into his first high-end glass studio at Puffin Glass Studios, a shop formerly operating in North Seattle. “I went into the shop and they had local work from people like Scott Deppe and Quave, and the Deppe pipe had a spinning tetrahedral with some skulls and it was so beyond anything I had ever imagined that someone would take the time to make. I was used to seeing spoons and beakers, and then I walked into that shop and saw those pieces and it totally changed my perspective,” reflects Norman. “It was a wild experience.”
Portal collab with @takaomiyake for the #alljapanshow 🇯🇵 This piece was started in Japan and finished in Seattle. I had a lot of fun in Japan during my trip in March, it's really cool to be able to bridge a cultural gap with glass. #storminnormanglass #takaomiyake #hellafuckingdotsman #alljapanshow2017 #portalsandshit #siennabrown #porknipple #areyoudoneyet #whyareyoudoingitlikethat #konichiwabitches #Arigato
It was around this time that Norman was bored with his production job and decided to start learning how to blow glass. His first time on the torch was with friend and fellow artist, Scoz Glass. The experience solidified that glass blowing was something Norman wanted to take seriously, and Stormin Norman officially began the craft in December of 2014. “I worked at Seven Point Studios that was started by Nate Dizzle and he taught me a lot and taught me the basics, and then Kevin Quave moved into the studio space and I learned from him and it built from there. It was basically learning bits and pieces from everyone I was around and had the chance to work with, and it was a natural progression once I got into the work. I got introduced to Quave early on when he was starting Quave Club Banger and really had the chance to learn when it was a small room with like four people working in it. I really had the chance to be a fly on the wall and that’s when I was introduced to Elbo, Joe P, WJC and some other artists in the industry,” he recalls.
Although new to the craft of making glass pipes, Norman was committed to learning and progressing as quickly as he could. “I was still working my regular job at the time and would work my normal eight-hour day and then go to Seven Point and blow glass till they closed the studio. I was basically making marbles, little trinkets and I was never really working for someone. I had some money saved up and eventually I quit my job because you can't have a job and blow glass as much as you need to. You need to put in that eight to ten hours a day to see the progression you want,” says Norman. After putting in time on the torch making art and off the torch building relationships, he started to see serious improvement in his work. “I didn't have many skills when I started so I was selling whatever I could make. After my first trip to the Burning Man festival with a bunch of friends from the culture I came back with a new drive and and had a lot of new inspiration and worked even harder and tried to push my limits to see what I could do and what I could make,” says Norman.
At the time, around mid-2014, many artists were making bubblers, banger hangers and other simple functionals, and the recycler had become a very popular functional design. Norman wanted to make something new, something different and after trial and error he ended up with his first Orbuculum, a crystal ball design that has become one of his signatures. “I draw a lot and sometimes it just helps lead me to new ideas, and a lot don't have any function but it helps lead me to new concepts that end up working. The first orb was really tricky; I messed up the first one and then I realized it was going to be really hard to get my sculptures to look like the drawings I sketched up, and it naturally progressed into the first Orbuculum around December of 2015,” says Norman.
As the career of Stormin Norman has continued to expand, he continues to take inspiration from his friends. “WJC and Quave have been good friends and the most recent large inspirations for my work, and it’s fun to have mentors and people you can build off of. It’s all been building, the hash is getting better, the glass is getting better and the community is continuing to build itself among all of that, and I'm looking forward to pushing the boundaries and making more intricate work. I want to travel more and spread this culture to other places around the world. We are onto something. Making the best hash and best glass in the world is exciting to be a part of and we have to spread that,” he says.
Artwork by Stormin Norman has been featured in some of the largest glass art shows to date, including Heaterz, Wook Show, Intrinsic and the recent All Japan Show in downtown Denver. Glass pipes and other work crafted by Stormin Norman can be viewed on his Instagram page at @Stormin__Norman and can be purchased at various galleries across the country. ♦
Freshly Squeezed: The Story of Lyons GlassRead More
by Samuel Farley @THC_Samuel
Sam Lyons, better known as Lyons Glass, grew up in a relaxed Vermont household surrounded by a cannabis friendly circle. He was introduced to cannabis by his older sister at the age of 15, around the same time he was introduced to glass blowing. Their father had rented out space on their property to a young couple who happened to be glass artists and he would sometimes watch them work. Almost immediately, he decided that he wanted to be a pipe maker. Sam’s mother was an artist and encouraged his artistic exploration despite his lack of knowledge about the glass world beforehand, and she paid for his first glass blowing class at Snow Farm, an art school in northern Massachusetts. As a naïve 10th grader guided solely by the desire to make pipes, he didn't yet understand the difference between lamp working (the process of making pipes over a torch) and glassblowing (hot shop, soft glass manipulation in a kiln that includes large-scale, non-functional work like vases, plates and more old-school Italian style glass art.)
At 16, he took a class led by artist Peter Muller, who is now well known in the glass circuit for his VooDoo Doll work. The class was a traditional art class and was not geared specifically toward learning how to craft pipes. “I was bummed because I wanted to make pipes and Peter got that, he must have thought, ‘This young little stoner must have signed up for the wrong class.’ It was a four-day course, it was a place where we could spend the week and take the full class. I actually still have some of the work I made at that first class. Peter had this cool assistant and on the final day without anyone else knowing Peter and his assistant said that when the other students had left that they would teach me how to make something that rhymes with wrong, and I busted out with a giant smile because he was going to teach me how to make a pipe,” recalls Lyons with a smile. At the end of that session, they had made a basic tube that Lyons smoked out of with Muller’s assistant.
During that period, he also met artist Joe Peters who was making pendants at the time.
Shortly after completing the class, his mom helped him sign up for an art grant program and he was able to purchase his first torch, which he set up in his mom’s pottery studio. He had a basic top-loading kiln that only had three settings and he would bounce back and forth between two to dial in the correct temperature. “I mostly ended up just breaking things,” says Lyons. Eventually, he found a pair of local artists who were into bead making. They taught him how to make spoon bowls and some other basic skills, allowing him to start making actual functional pieces. “There was no understanding at all, I still remember those days,” Lyons reflects. “I would just pour glass and fill a tube and try to make a bong bigger than I could hold and I would look down and just have it cobweb thing you couldn't even smoke out of.”
As a high school student, Lyons wasn’t as focused on producing functional work, just dabbling in the basic skills with his home torch. “I was just messing around and I had the joy of learning. I wasn't selling any pieces or anything, but sometimes I would try to make a pipe for a friend or something like that. I used to sell weed and at one point decided to really shift my focus from selling weed to blowing glass,” Lyons explains. He would take classes and watch live demos when he could, including one particular demonstration led by Muller and Peters, who were making a non-functional sculpture. To this day, Lyons recalls this demonstration fondly as a moment he recognizes as foundational in his passion for glass art.
After high school, he decided to invest in improving his prospects as a glass artist by signing up for college classes. Through a series of lucky events, he ended up being the last person, student number 23, to be allowed into a scientific glassblowing school program at Salem Community College in New Jersey, a school that specializes in scientific glassblowing. It was the first time he had glassblowing friends and people to bounce ideas off of. He flourished in the friendly environment.
“I really had the chance to learn any techniques I wanted from my teachers and had the chance to learn about the pipe scene from the other students, so it was the best of both worlds,” Lyons explains.
But that optimism turned sour during his last semester when his apartment was raided, and he was arrested on cannabis-related charges. The ordeal prompted him to drop out of the program. Although he didn't graduate, he felt he had all of the knowledge necessary to pursue a career in glass blowing. He decided to move back to Vermont, where he built a studio in the same barn on his parents’ property where he first had been introduced to glass blowing as a teenager.
“I got really lucky with some of the people and the timing of when I met some people that really helped my career. While I was still in college my teacher took us to an unofficial field trip to a trade show and it was filled with work by Elbo, Slinger, Laceface and other incredible artists,” he says. A good friend of his was working as an assistant to Elbo at the time, and he propositioned the artist to hire Lyons when he was ready to move on.
At that trade show, Lyons witnessed the premier of “Degenerate Art,” the first film about the glass pipe industry put together by glass legend Slinger. “To see everyone’s reaction to the film and to see Slinger’s reaction to the film, it was palpable, I could feel how real it was and I had a good vantage point of my skill level at the time, (around 2011) and where I wanted to go. And it really motivated me in huge ways and I told myself I could make it in the pipe industry. I told myself I could get better and develop my art and really make a living making pipes,” says Lyons.
But technical skill and passion isn’t enough to make a mark in the world of functional glass, and Lyons found himself listless in his early forays into the world of professional glass blowing.
“Before I discovered my citrus theme I had a hard time making things. I didn't know what to make, I didn't have any style yet, I had some skill but no style. I soaked up everything that happened and all of the experiences at school like a sponge and tried to learn as much as I could from my friends and teachers and stored it and got ready to apply it later,” he recalls of his early days.
During that time around 2012, Elbo moved back to Massachusetts, and Lyons made good on his earlier connection, becoming Elbo’s assistant. Lyons worked with Elbo for about a year making pickle pipes and other preparation work, providing him the opportunity to learn about the process of sculpting, themes and business. “Elbo taught me a lot about glass and a lot about the game, and would basically try to tell me to always keep going and keep hustling,” says Lyons.
After the yearlong apprenticeship, Elbo moved to Philadelphia, and Lyons was reintroduced to Peters. Peters and Lyons hit it off well and Lyons started working for him, a jump Lyons still recognizes as very lucky. “I was absolutely pumped and I was very fortunate to have things happen the way they did. I definitely consider myself blessed, I was more of a craftsman before the process of being able to work with other artists and through that process I found myself as an artist,” he explains.
During the summer of 2013, Peters taught Lyons everything he knew about working with color, and in 2015, Lyons followed him to Colorado, where Peters founded Dreamlab Glass. “The first year of working for Joe was slow and really revolved around my strengths. And as time went on, I began to help out with millies and that’s when I really started to learn how to make millies, and had the chance to go through the wins and mistakes and see his process. I got my juice concept from watching Joe work on his honeycombs. I actually offered the idea to Joe first when I first thought of the idea and Joe told me to go for it and pursue the idea as my own and I began developing the citrus theme and style,” says Lyons. “Citrus became my thing, and it lines up with the colors I love and the weed I like to smoke and a huge tip of the hat to Joe Peters for teaching me the things he did.”
Soon, Lyons had found his signature. “When I figured out the juicer it became my tube shape that developed after stopping my work with Joe and Dreamlab around the summer of 2016. I really branched out on my own and continued to develop the juicer and I wanted to make something that was technical, functional and beautiful, so the juicer was something I really wanted to be my solo signature piece,” explains Lyons. “I think it combines all of my different backgrounds with everything I have learned from everyone while also developing new things on my own as I’ve gotten better as an artist.”
Currently, Lyons calls the Denver studio known as The Portal home, and he continues to be known for his citrus theme as well as for his juicer pieces. “In my career I'm excited to say that I'm finally feeling some stability within my business and work and trying to expand with new themes and new things within my work. And that is exciting to me; branching out and getting back to seeing what new ideas I can come up with,” says Lyons. “In terms of the industry, I am just excited to see it grow and see more studios pop up, see more cool glass community gatherings and everything happening in the industry. There’s some real weight and camaraderie within the movement and it’s cool — it’s global, it’s one big family.”
Work by Lyons Glass is available for viewing on his social media page and in person at Purple Haze in Denver and other galleries across Colorado. ♦
I Survived ARISE Music FestivalRead More
by Evan Hundhausen
The Arise Music Festival is in its fifth year. Held at the Sunrise Ranch conference and retreat center at the base of foothills in Loveland, Arise is an independent three-day music, yoga and co-creative camping festival featuring activism, musical artists, provocative films, dynamic speakers, art installations, yoga classes, workshops, performance art, and even an art gallery.
I arrived on a Friday in an attempt to avoid the Thursday night (The Early Camping Upgrade) downpour. I played around with the poles on my $34.99 Walmart dome tent before realizing this might just be a two-man job. Since I showed up by myself, meeting a friend later, I asked a neighbor if he could help me. He was nice enough to give me a hand and we got my tent upright when the worst rainstorm all weekend started.
"You'll need to weigh it down," said Rick, the nice man who helped me set up my tent, so I instinctively laid down inside of it with my arms and legs spread like "The Vitruvian Man" as the storm raged outside. A tent behind mine was flung into a ditch as the wind whipped.
After that experience, I was ready to check out what Arise was all about. It was my first time and I was way f-ing curious!
The NoCo Hemp Village
This year you could visit the NoCo Hemp Village sponsored by the NoCo Hemp Expo.
The village included hemp companies like, Colorado Hemp Company, Tree Free Hemp, EnerHealth, Pure Hemp Botanicals, H.O.P.E. Manufacturing, Nature's Root, Straight Hemp, The Anti-Soap, Left Hand Hemp, and Freida Farms.
Zane Kunau from Freida Farms was there selling gear, like a grinder made from hemp and his CBD salves, oils, and isolates.
I asked Zane how he handled the rainstorm on Friday, which dampened the festival just a bit.
"The rain storm came in like a thunder of stallions," he said. "Almost took our tents away. We had to step on all our tents. Then the lightning started. They told us we had to go to our cars. We had to pack up and go. It was havoc and as quick as it came, it went. Thirty minutes later we were back out. Looked like a tornado hit our stuff though, for real! Our stuff was just all over."
The art of Android Jones and Phil Lewis were highlighted at the festival’s official entrance. Two intimidating, colorful towers covered in their art stood outside the main camping and parking area. Android Jones had some of his digital art videos playing.
Inside the festival there were tents with crafts, art prints and fashionable clothing to check out. Some featured $100 tapestries of original art, which was one of the hipper items I saw for sale.
Vincent Gordon and his tent caught my eye. A local "Pop" artist, his work is reminiscent of famous television cartoons with grotesque imagery, similar to that of artist R. Crumb.
There were a few great exhibits that can only be seen to be believed, such as a giant tree with stringy fabric falling from the top creating a sort of maze for attendees to walk through.
Many artists were out on the grass painting murals and on canvases with their easels. They painted through the night, inspired by the musical acts. This was a really interesting part of the festival and way fun to observe.
There was also a large "art gallery" with prints and paintings for sale, creating a fun museum to walk through.
Beats Antique, Lettuce, Atmosphere and Ani DiFranco were just some of the highlights of this year’s musical acts. Performances started around noon and ended at 2 a.m. so you could get some rest for the next day.
Brasstracks was a personal highlight — a funky act made up of Ivan Jackson and Conor Rayne. Ivan mixed electronic music on a laptop and played trumpet while Conor played live on a drum set.
Dirtwire was another performance I enjoyed. Described as a "rebirth of Americana music," the band uses traditional instruments, world percussion and electronic beats, as well as more eclectic instruments like the thumb piano, mouth harp, and the saz.
Tipper played on the Main Stage Saturday night, accompanied by the digital videos of Android Jones. Otherwise, you could be dazzled by fire dancers.
Radio DJ Buddha Bomb, who you can hear regularly on KGNU 88.5 FM, played at all five Arise Music Festivals over the years, and about this year's Arise he said, "It was the most scintillating and the most grounded Arise festival yet."
The StarWater Stage
The StarWater Stage and tent was one of the best places to go during the deluge. It was an extravagant setup with a cozy cafe/coffee shop offering coffee, mate tea and other drinks, as well as a large music stage with constant musical acts and performances next door. During the first night I got some broth in a packet with hot water and drank it in a paper coffee cup. It was a great thing to have on the cold and rainy first night.
For the kids
The Rainbow Lightning Children's Village entertained kids all day long with music and kid friendly entertainment.
Taylor Martin had a vision and saw a need for a children's village at festivals like Arise.
Rob Treaphort, Taylor's boyfriend and partner, does the technical side at Rainbow Lightning, setting up big speakers and a stage where all kinds of musical acts perform strictly to entertain the kids. Rob is also a conscious DJ and producer, and played at the StarWater Stage Tent during the weekend.
"Parents were getting all fucked up and losing their kids and there was no place for any of the kids to go," Rob explained to me. "We're here as a place for parents to interact with their kids in a festival type setting."
In the future, the Rainbow Lightening Children's Village will also be at the Shamanic Boom in Wyoming, the Jumpsuit Family Gathering and Unify Fest in New Mexico.
The biggest and most popular tent by far was the Yoga Sanctuary. Every day you could see the crowd that formed up on the hill from the farthest reaches of the Arise camps.
Hundreds of people crowded the tent, all performing yoga poses led by world-renowned yoga instructors.
One of the most interesting exercises was a laughing exercise in which participants lay down resting their head on someone else's belly. When you feel the other person laughing, their twitching stomach muscles — let's just say it was contagious!
Throughout the festival, world thought leaders, artists and activists discussed a wide range of topics in the Big Sunrise Dome, which is Sunrise Ranch's spacious, air-conditioned, dome theater. The dome also featured music, storytelling sessions and film
The food trucks at Arise were extra special, providing all sorts of dishes from vegan dishes to Greek gyros to fried raviolis. There was nothing better than getting a New York style pizza slice with pepperoni at 2 a.m. I bought a homemade organic lemon, lavender and ginger popsicle. Try to imagine a refreshing ice cold dessert like that in your mouth on a hot day at Arise.
Finding your friends
On Saturday I caught up with friend and artist Sofia Bogdanovich. She camped near the RV site and we met her nice neighbors from Omaha who let us sit under their awning as it started to rain.
Under the awning we pulled out her canvases and started collaborating on a painting. When the rain finally cleared up there was a double rainbow across the cliffs of Sunrise Ranch.
The smell of patchouli and porta-potties
It seemed like every time I had to "go," a truck drove up and started cleaning the portable bathrooms. They did a thorough job sanitizing them and getting rid of any foul smells.
There was also a shower area where you could pay for a shower like you were at a bathhouse. For VIPs, there was a private shower, which was next to a small sauna, hot tub and a freezing swimming pool that was perfect for cooling off during the hot days or between rainstorms.
If you go next year
It’s easy to get sore walking around Arise, so make sure you’re prepared for some meandering. Make sure you’re prepared for temperamental Colorado weather, and be prepared to share the festival with revelers of all ages.
There are a lot of couples getting romantic, no doubt, but there are lots of single people, and you should not shy away from the festival because you don't have a date. People are friendly when you talk to them and you can have plenty of fun there.
Thievery Corporation has been announced as next year’s headliners, so remember to buy your tickets early, plus early birds will get them on the cheap. ♦
To learn all about the Arise Music Festival, check out arisefestival.com.
Hip-Hop, Sneakers and Southern California Cannabis: The Story of Hoobs GlassRead More
by Samuel Farley
California has long been a hub for cannabis and music culture, and glass has become an integral aspect of West Coast culture over the past two decades. Adam Whobrey, better known as Hoobs Glass, is one of the world’s most well known glass artists. Growing up in Southern California, Hoobs was introduced to the cannabis scene around the age of 15 by way of his affinity for hip-hop and the Los Angeles music scene. Hoobs got into glass by collecting small pieces in the late 1990s when he was a teen. Some of his favorite pieces were made by artists such as Darby Holm, Scott Deppe, and Marcel Braun, who are still well known today.
After graduating high school, Hoobs got a job in a small smoke and skate shop in Torrence, California with a small torch setup in the back. He convinced his boss to let him mess around on the torch and make a few pipes for the store after getting a quick tutorial from the shop’s owner. “I remember the first time I ever tried it, I was on the torch for like eight hours straight and it felt like 10 minutes — the time flew by. I was hooked instantly,” says Hoobs. He ended up staying there for a couple more years and developed his set of skills through a process of trial and error. Hoobs would spend his free time at high-end glass shops trying to figure out how the intricate pieces on display were made. He would then return to the studio to try and replicate those pieces, and he began to learn new techniques.
Doing this, he was able to earn some money while honing his skills, but it wasn’t the stability he needed. Early in his career, around 2003, Hoobs found himself without a mentor or stable income, and considered quitting. Thankfully, a close friend stepped in to loan him $5,000 so he could buy his first torch and kiln, and create his own garage studio. That expression of confidence pushed Hoobs to keep going, propelling him into a blossoming career.
A few years later the glass scene exploded on social media. Hoobs and others like him went from knowing almost no one else making glass to befriending hundreds of other glass blowers. Hoobs says he was lucky to have grown up within cannabis culture in California because when glassblowing did start to gain social media presence, the California culture helped create a sense of normalcy.
“I feel like it’s always been legal, there was never a serious worry around cannabis,” he says. “Everyone smokes cannabis and as long as you weren’t making a big scene, cannabis has never been an issue. I remember in 1998, B-Real of Cypress Hill would hang out at this bar in L.A. and they would let him smoke up on the bar patio and that was right at the beginning of medical. It’s always been part of California and the culture. And when I found pipe making, I thought, wow, this is really awesome. It’s really perfect and I never felt like I had to hide my work.”
One of Hoobs’s most famous designs is his intricate glass sneakers. Growing up in L.A. with the influence of hip-hop and sneaker culture, the idea for a sneaker pipe was always in the back of his mind. “There is so much underground art associated with hip hop, sneakers, graffiti and pipes — everything already blended together in real life. I love sculptural work so it was a shape that was both challenging and exciting to create. Everyone I knew who smoked weed collected sneakers and vice versa, so I thought it was a great concept to bring to people who might not have ever seen a piece of glass like that,” he says. “I wanted to expose a different stream of people to the art, a group of people who were already into another aspect of a similar culture by being involved in skating or hip hop instead of glass pipes.”
The first shoe was crafted around 2010, roughly 10 years after he began his career in glass. Through mutual friends at California companies G-Pen and West Coast Cure, Hoobs had the opportunity to make a custom sneaker for cannabis enthusiast and rapper Wiz Khalifa. The G-Pen team were collaborating with Wiz Khalifa on an oil pen and commissioned Hoobs to make a custom piece for him. “He was blown away to see it. It’s really cool when you meet these people and they are super real and actually cool. Wiz was super heavy into dabbing at the time and I got his sound man too high, he chilled out in the corner for a while. To see him posting it and putting the piece in his videos was more than I could have ever expected,” says Hoobs.
In 2016 Hoobs took a trip to Germany, where he collaborated with scientific glass company ROOR, the first glass company to craft the glass-on-glass fitting that has since been copied around the world. “Having the chance to collaborate with Martin (of ROOR) was great, we made a few tubes and some other sculpture work and it was also cool for them because the market for the heady art in Europe isn’t where the American market is. So it was cool to mix the scientific and heady world in a new country,” says Hoobs. “It was really interesting to see the contrast of everything.”
Hoobs’ more recent work includes crafting X-Men character, Wolverine and other intense new sculptures like classic cars and playing cards. Car collectors have commissioned him to make their car out of glass and he always tries to keep advancing. “I wanted to start trying to make the things in my head that at the start of my career I thought would be totally impossible. I’m trying to find the limit, that’s my real goal. Trying to push myself to make things that I don’t know are possible that I have never seen made or attempted. The whole process of learning how to blow glass is learning, the fun is in the learning, as soon as that ends, you lose interest. I’m trying to have fun with it and expand my artwork, and bring a smile to my face and someone else’s face. Since I got into it around 2000, it’s been an ever-changing beast and is still considered a new form of art,” says Hoobs. “I feel super honored to be able to be a part of the entire scene and movement.” Work crafted by Hoobs was recently on display at the Comichron show in San Diego at Just Another Gallery, and is available at galleries around the country. ♦
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 [email protected] 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