Monumental Weekend For the Pipe Making Community

Smoked Volume 2 Book Released in NYC Gallery
By: Stephanie Singer

Having an art show in New York City can legitimize anyone’s craft, especially if you are a pipe maker. Consistently stereotyped as paraphernalia, the caliber of artistic talent in this underground movement is surpassing the notion of anything besides art. Over the course of the past decade, this growing industry has spread its wings across the United States, recruiting artists from all regions to join its army. There is no better way to mark the progression of any movement than with documentation. Whether it is a film, book, magazine article and, these days, a blog post, a snapshot of the current state has the potential to push the envelope that much further.

This past weekend marked just that for the pipe making community. Independent publishers GritCityInc. hosted the launch of their second book in the “Smoked” series, “Smoked Volume 2,” at Easy Street Gallery in Brooklyn. Smoked Volume 2 is an art book featuring the works of over 35 artists, each with an interview and pictures of their work. Kyp Malone of TV on the Radio wrote the foreword and there are also interviews and essays with other key players in the movement.

Over 25 of the artists in the book made the trek to the big apple. For some, it was their first trip to New York City. Micah Evans, an artist in his mid-30s from Austin, Texas said, “It was my first time to NYC and my first time to Easy Street Gallery. I guess it can be summed up by one fact: zero pictures taken, but a full sketchbook. Seeing my glass world thrive in the heart of the US because of the vision and hard work of the group of amazing people at GritCityInc. and Easy Street was truly inspiring. It has cemented my perspective that our craft of pipe making is a beast all its own and I am so grateful to be a part of the book.” Another artist, Chad G., from rural Illinois was shocked at the high quality of both the book and gallery. “For me to see pipe art published and shown in the environment it is supposed to be is dream come true.”

The party began on Friday evening with a VIP party for artists and sponsors. Bottles of donated craft beer from Lagunitas, Stoudts Brewing Company, Left Hand and Ithaca Beer Co. were passed around. On Saturday, over 300 people attended the public launch. Gallery manager Korin Prince has been witnessing the momentum build in the gallery since it’s opening in October 2009. “Not only are collectors, fellow artists and glass enthusiasts taking note, but the movement continues to reach new audiences. The growing number of people taking interest in glass pipes is evident just in seeing the diverse turnout for the Sv2 launch here at Easy Street. This art truly spans both genders, many generations and cultures as pipes continue to make their mark on history.”

For old heads, this past weekend was a reunion and reminder that what they are doing is actually making strides. For those who are new to the scene, it served as their initiation process into a community of hardworking professionals who also like to have a ton of fun. As much competition as there is amongst the artists, the diversity of each piece lends itself to the level of innovation and personal aesthetic. “Everyone left their egos at the door and just came together in spirit of the glass pipe movement.  East met west, and new friends were made.  The opening was a perfect balance of business and fun, and the only thing I am sad about is the fact it’s now over,” adds Joshua Opdenaker aka JOP. “But it’s all good; I know Smoked Volume 3 is just around the corner.”

Smoked Volume 2 can be purchased through GritCityInc.’s website:

http://www.gritcityinc.com for $29.99 plus shipping.

Steve

Author: Steve

Built Like That!

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