If you’re a child of the early 90s and were a complete and utter screw up (because you know, smoking pot totally means you’re one step away from juggling balls for crack), you may remember the first time you encountered “the color changing pipe” in high school. Well that’s simply where this enormous multi-million dollar industry began. Glass pipe-making has evolved a long ways from there and today this underground subculture can be defined as nothing less than an emerging art movement. Yes, art. The independent film Degenerate Art documents the art and culture of glass-pipe making and is the first film to ever shed light on the invisible sub-culture that has created a burgeoning new genre of American folk art. Despite the heavy weight of federal Drug War laws and burdening Family First taboo that the functionality of these pieces carry with them, glass-pipe making remains one of the last true underground American art scenes. This well-informed and comprehensive documentary started filming in 2006, but was recently released to the public when it was made an official selection by the SXSW Film Festival for 2012, and the rest is history — the film even made its way to #7 on iTunes for most purchased documentaries the weekend it was released. After watching Degenerate Art it’s fair to say there are some pretty intricate and expensive devices one can use to “take a little bit of the edge off” (aka smoke grass, weed, pot, buddha, ganja, kush, OG, muggles, broccoli, whatever you crazy kids call it nowadays). Directed by M. Slinger, the film interviews Bob Snodgrass who is credited with basically inventing the Cult of the Glass Pipe, and also features big-name underground artists like Jerome Baker, LaceFace, Eusheen, and Jason Lee. Basically, a lot of dudes that look like they paid their dues (and then some) at the local drum circle. Because of the “degenerate” nature of their pieces, these rebel artists lacked training from traditional glass blowers. As a result, they use an array of different techniques which render a fresh look to glass art that completely strays from mainstream glass culture. Case in point, you’ll see a series of wild-eyed craftsmen going at it with pieces of raw glass, torches, and flames to construct ridiculously fragile yet utterly dope works of art that even upright glass artists are awed by. If you have any sort of appreciation toward art, craft, design, etc., this film makes for a truly insightful viewing… even between the occasional gusts of THC clouds fogging the camera. Pick up Degenerate Art now on iTunes.

Another poster for “Degenearate Art” after the Jump…

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One Response to “Degenerate Art: A Documentary About the Art of Getting High… But Really High”

  1. Mitch Moquin says:

    I don’t know if the negative remarks towards cannabis were necessary in your review. As a medical patient in the state of washington, it’s offensive to be thought to be “one step away from juggling balls for crack”. Aside from that as a glass artist myself, I know that many of these artists (as one of them is my mentor) know that all of these artists actually learned from some of the top glass artists in the world from outside of the functional glass world. Look up the name Michelson and do some research on the uses of CBD…

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