These Gun Shaped Water Pipes Pack A Divisive Message

Published On 03/03/2015 Published On 03/03/2015

Historically, recreational drugs and semi-automatic rifles only mixed well in DMX songs and deep within the jungles of 'Nam (from what I can recall).

But these works of stoney-bologna art from glass master Robert Mickelsen transpose recognizable forms of destruction into weapons of beauty and relaxation, more suited for your mantle than your gun rack or smoking den.


Part of the art exhibition Weapons of Peace, the ambitious designs hit on “...two controversies for the price of one,” according to the artist Mickelson.

"Human weapons have always had an element of art in them. The question is why? Why make an object designed to kill beautiful? I believe it says something profound about what it means to be human...I thought, what would happen if I made sculptures that captured the beauty but did away with the lethal function? Weapons of Peace was born."


In addition to throwing his blowpipe into the hotbed of gun issues in America, he also propels a statement regarding the emerging legality of Marijuana.  

"They are not specifically designed for smoking any specific substance, but most of the buyers thus far have come from the rapidly growing 'cannabis culture.' These people identify most strongly with the deliberate undercurrent of counter-culturalism contained in each piece. In this way, the Weapons of Peace series succeeds in landing in the middle of a second controversy—the liberalization and legalization of archaic and outdated cannabis laws in America."


You mean that weed heads are interested in buying these glass, multi-colored, gun-shaped water bongs? What a surprise! 


Is that a banana/bong/glass rifle between your legs? Or are you just happy to see me?


If Al Capone preferred smoking bud above smuggling booze, they'd probably be strapping this Tommy Gun replica. And The Untouchables would have played out like Grandma's Boy, depriving us all of that alarming baseball bat scene.

You can see Mickelson, who deliberately describes himself as "not a gun person," with an earlier, slightly more basic work. It's obvious that the artist designs his projects with more in mind than simply appeasing the eye. 

"If two people with opposite viewpoints about guns can agree that these glass sculptures have merit, let that serve as a starting point. Let the conversation continue and evolve, moving on the wings of art, until we understand each other’s viewpoints. We can still disagree, but we will at least respect each other and from there we can move forward together."


By combining two of the most pressing, topical issues churning the imagination and spirit of our nation in one succinct and satisfying series, Mickelson has created works of art that are truly American: ambiguous, gorgeous, controversial, and unique in their ability to inherently create conversation. 

Talk about a smoking gun. (Sorry.)

Wil Fulton is a Staff Writer for Supercompressor, and he ironically prefers his guns to be pipe-shaped. Follow him @WilWithOnlyOneL



Learn More