By Aaron Evans
This monthâ€™s featured blower, â€œCREEP,â€ told me he sculpted this stunning blue lion pharaoh in just a few short hours, but Iâ€™m pretty sure heâ€™s lying to me. See, Iâ€™m convinced he moonlights secretly as a tomb raider and just slipped me a stolen artifact unearthed from King Tutâ€™s burial chamber. Thereâ€™s absolutely no way this piece is from this century, and it would take one hard headed, cantankerous individual to get me to change my mind. In fact, Iâ€™m so positive Iâ€™m right that Iâ€™m sending it out for carbon dating as soon as I finish writing this article.
Of course, I kid. Fortunately for the readers of NUG Magazine, CREEP is bringing to life his â€˜one of a kindâ€™ creations at a prolific pace and managed to squeeze in a few extra hours into his day to make this stunning custom piece for me. I was lifted last issue when we presented J.A.G. as our featured artist, and landing these two back to back is almost surreal. If I wrote a short list of the blowers I was aiming to cover when I started this column, and only had a piece of parchment as big as your favorite rolling paper, I can guarantee you that these two would have been on that list. If glassblowing had an all-star team, it would be safe to say that youâ€™re about to meet another one of its starting players.
Jacob Lee, aka â€œCREEP,â€ grabbed my attention at IGS displaying his eletroforming collaborations with â€œBig Pizzle.â€ Showcasing a battalion of zombies, ghouls, and even a centaur in his work, his line stood out to me in a crowded field fixated on emulating the monster movie era. Iâ€™m not normally drawn to much of anything with a dark theme, so the fact that I was seduced by his artistic style is a true testimony to his talent. I decided to ask him about this current trend in the culture, and what he had to say was both insightful and inspiring:
â€œZombies are a hot trend and I think that itâ€™s because when you go to where there are tons of people living crammed together, they seem to end up acting a little like zombies. The masses of people are, and always will be, sheeple or zombies. The people who are able to live in these times and keep their heads up, even while surrounded by zombies, will find each other and feed an alternative culture.â€
Starting in the medium 15 years ago, CREEP spent several years exploring soft glass with friends on Vashon Island, just west of his home base in the Seattle/Yakima, Washington area. During this time, his younger brother, Joel, decided to jump behind a flame and take a few classes in soft glassâ€™s distant cousin, torching working. After seeing the simplicity of his brotherâ€™s studio and the flexibility of the craft, he was hypnotized. A month or so later he was up and running off into a wilderness of self-exploration from which he has never looked back. Outside of a few classes over the years from the likes of renowned names in the glass community, such as â€œGhostâ€ and â€œBanjo,â€ Jacobâ€™s style is forged from his own personal growth while reflecting external influences.
Drawing inspiration from everything under the sun, including nature, pop culture (particularly Star Wars) and Native American totem poles, his skill set is broad and diverse. Unlocking complex glass riddles, CREEP enjoys the challenge presented by constantly making custom orders for his many admirers. He figures, why not get paid to learn, as each piece insists that he pushes himself one step further into his overall evolution as an artist. Also, sighting H.R. Giger, the Swiss surrealist painter, sculptor, and set designer known for his netherworld imagery as another strong influence, Jacob attempts quite successfully to blend together these eclectic elements in each of his works. To sum it up in his own words, â€œI think glassblowing, at least the pipe art, is like the DJ music industry. I try to have my own sound, but I sample from other peopleâ€™s music and blend it into mine. Other people sample from me and thatâ€™s fine, but make it your own.â€
When I solidified CREEP for this monthâ€™s issue, I knew I had to take advantage of his open-mindedness to trying new things and his ability to actualize the abstract conceptual ideas fed to him by his customers. As I mentioned last month, my debut solo album, â€œFamily Always Matters,â€ drops this October and I simply couldnâ€™t resist the opportunity to request a piece based on my blue lion logo. After all, custom creations are his specialty. I sent him an advanced copy of the album to check out, and when he told me he was really digging my musical stylings, I was honored.
Trying to describe to someone how to make any form of art is a complex conundrum. I went through hundreds of pictures, sent numerous emails, and used countless descriptive words to outline my vision. Notions such as honorable, proud and noble were juxtaposed against words like stern, defiant, and fearless. Still, I wanted Jacob to add his own personal flavor. I wanted it to be made for me, but still carry the unmistakable trademarks of this masterâ€™s touch. What he brought to the table as