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About Me

My name is Gunnar. I was born and raised in Los Angeles California. I still live in Los Angeles.

I've been an artist my entire life and been interested in pipes about the same amount of time.

Pipes and Tobacco in gereral

I've always had an interest in pipes from a very young age. I was never really interested in cigarettes or cigars. I've known a few men who smoked pipes but I never asked too many questions. My grandfather used to smoke cigars and I remember when my father would open his letters, (back when folks wrote analog mail on paper) you could still smell the cigar smoke. Hmm, try bringing that much character to an email!

I finally got it together and said to myself, "What the hell are you waiting for?" Sadly both my father and his father are long gone now, although they may not have understood anyway. However I remember telling my father that someday I would smoke a pipe; that I really like them. I think I was about 9 or 10. So that has come to pass and now I like to fantasize that we could have or still do, somehow, share something.

I got on-line and read. I explored the nicotine addiction aspect. I explored the cost. I decided that it was okay and a lot of my concerns where a healthy response to a lot of misinformation and irrational anti-smoking propaganda. Now after smoking a pipe for over a year (2005), I feel no addictive cravings whatsoever. I often go days with a pipe, smoking a few bowls a day then just as easily stop for a few days just because it's not convenient or I'm not in the mood. A week later I might pick it up again.

I truly believe that moderation and balance is the key (that applies to alcohol, food; a healthy life in general) and the inhaling of cigarette smoke is an improper abuse of tobacco. There are clubs and publications telling of the joys and camaraderie of the pipe and cigar hobbies. I have never seen anything like that for celebrating the joys of cigarettes. There is a reason for that. I look at my pipes as a chance to relax, and meditate; the equivalent of having a beer, but too much of anything, even a good thing, is a bad thing.

I know some people are looked down upon for smoking or for being young smokers. I have been alone and doing my own thing for so much of my life that I don't even notice or care about people judging me anymore. I usually wear big black boots, a black kilt and have a T-shirt that says, "Don't Judge Me Based On Your Ignorance". Frankly I'm not sure anyone really notices the pipe after taking all that in! If I try to interact with people and I get a positive response, I stay or go back, if it's negative I generally ignore it or take it as coming from their ignorance. I smoke a pipe more for the calming, meditative aspect and as such I generally don't smoke in crowded public places anyway. Sometimes after sunset on a Sunday night I might light up to relax a bit before going home (I work outside, at the beach). It also keeps my hands warm. Once when I did that an old homeless musician that I try to help out from time to time, noticed me puffing away, "So now you're smoking a pipe? There goes the neighborhood!" I replied, "What do you mean? I was just trying to add some class to the joint." We both had a good chuckle at that.

For some reason cigars never appealed to me as do pipes. I've had a few and enjoyed them and I may someday buy a nice humidor for myself to have a few on hand, but pipes offer me a whole other level of interests besides the tobacco. I enjoy all the little steps of loading and lighting, tamping, re-lighting, etc. involved with a pipe. I also like the paraphernalia of lighters, matches and tampers, etc. (not to mention T-shirts!) I think the pipes themselves can be amazing little works of art. I like the connection I feel with not just all other pipe smokers but also with my ancient native american ancestors, the original tobacconists.

In the something-different department, although I do enjoy the tobaccos I have tried so far, I've also tried blending in some Lavender flowers, Chamomile flowers and a few teas. All of which smell great, by the way, and you don't smell like old tobacco when you're done. Whenever I smoke a blend like this I always get positive comments from passersby, and I like the idea that besides a nice tasting aromatic, I'm smoking an all natural product that does not have any extra chemical casings or humidifiers. Additives are for cigarettes. I have noticed that pipe tobacco in general, does not smell like cigarettes both during the smoke and after you're done. It also does not seem to stick to hair and clothing as much, at least that's what I've been told.

The first pipe I bought to try out pipe smoking was a factory second (Savenelli, I believe) that was not even stained and was in a discount basket at the shop. The guy who's been helping me stained it black and red (my colors, I told him) buffed it up and taught me how to smoke it. I have been enjoying it since. That first night I had to buy everything, but he only charged me for the pipe and even discounted that. Nice. I then bought a cheap corn cob to try out more aromatics with and give #1 a rest, although I don't have time to smoke that often. My third pipe, but my first good, quality pipe. is a Paul Perri, an American maker, and it's huge! What a sweet, gentle man. He even gave me a little discount when I got it at a pipe show in 2004. I did not know enough to realize that it's about twice the size of my first briar. I took it home and compared it to #1 and was like, "Oh my. Is someone feeling a little inadequate?" The bowl is a little under 3 inches deep and over 1 inch wide at the mouth. It's about 7.5 inches long. It took 90 minutes for me to get through 3/4 of a bowl the other night. It is beautiful, with some crazy grain that this master pipe-maker managed to make symmetrical and a strange inverted cone shape that I like (sort of Dublin-like). It also has a little foot under the bowl that holds the whole thing above the table. Cool. Since then I've gotten a few more pipes. Some Dunhill's (one's a XL, HT Collector Shell; he took some shirts as a partial trade!), a Celius and a Comoy that was given to me for a birthday present. At the 2005 L.A. Pipe show I saw Mr. Perri again and got another one of his pipes, a very large, rusticated egg. Mrs Perri ordered one of my shirts!

That's something else I've grown to really appreciate about pipe smoking. The many fine and kind people I've met.

Pipe T-Shirts

I have always been good at drawing and painting so once I decided that I liked pipes I naturally started to feel the need to express myself on that subject.

The first results are these shirts. I got the idea of making a small poster of a pipe as an exploded diagram, or engineering schematic. I wanted to draw it in a way that would make it look old. As if you had just dug out some old, forgotten plans from City Hall's archives.

I'm not sure I really succeeded in delivering that feeling, since I got inspired and decided to make the drawings on T-shirts instead of posters. However I am still happy with the shirts and I would like to make more designs if they prove successful.

The Pipe Monolith

As my humble pipe colection grew it became necessary to invent a way to store my pipe collection. I choose pipes based on the shape and finish. Even when I'm not smoking them, I still like looking at them. Most racks crowd the pipes together and show only the inside of the bowl. After over a year of effort and prototypes and re-designs I got to some nice production models that people seemed to really like. It took a lot of time and effort not to mention a lot of my own money having the mistakes built for me, but I'm happy with the finished results. 

Once I saw some of the early prototypes I got the idea of the display plate being a monolithic slab similar to the Stonehenge blocks and the Monolith in the movie "2001 A Space Odyssey". I also liked the way the definition fit the feeling I was going for; sculptural & architechtural and the whole thing, pipes included, working as a unit. Thus the name. Sometimes when I have a few polished up and ready for shippment I have to stand back and admire their beauty. Several friends suggested that I patent the ideas and after discussing things with a patent attorney, they are now protected by a patent pending. 

I hope you see how the Pipe Monolith will not only display your pipes in a more elegant and respectful way, but thusly allow you to get much more pleasure from your collection as the pipes are now displayed to be admired, rather than simply put away. Now I don't have to smoke my pipes to enjoy them, and can appreciate their shape and beauty from a whole new perspective. Let me know how it works for you.

Other Work

I've done many other things art wise. Click on the picture to see a new page I finally put together that guides you to a few other creations.

Load up, light up and take a little trip...

www.GunnArt.com
popupart14.detail.jpg
Giant Robot (detail). One of the "Pop-Up Art" series

Howdy! Click here for E-mail.

Totem n. 1. An animal, plant, or natural object serving as a symbol of a clan or family. 2. A venerated symbol. Anthro; Native American peoples.

Star n. 1. A luminous celestial body consisting of a mass of hot gasses held together by it's own gravity. 2. A graphic design having 5 or more radiating points. 3. stars: The future; destiny.




Just in case anyone was wondering; This site and all art and design work on it is copy-written, trademarked and patented. Nothing here may be re-published, or re-produced by any means or media, without my permission.  

I have spent my life getting to this point. I created all artwork here, unless otherwise noted. Please respect all intellectual and creative property.

This PipeSmoke Ring site is owned by Gunnar
  Click here to join the PipeSmoke Ring.
 


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