I introduce the German abstract pipe maker Christian Wolfsteiner through another German abstract artist, Mr. Paul Klee.
Paul Klee is very famous for making some of the most profound abstract art our eyes have seen to date. Paul created some of the most odd, unique, full of new visual delight paintings that were both haunting, beautiful & 1,000 other adjectives all put together. A sample of Paul Klee’s work.
A few quotes that Paul Klee said about art, which in my opinion mimic Christian Wolfsteiner’s personal perspective.
“I wish I was newly born, and totally ignorant of Europe, innocent of facts and fashions, to be almost primitive.”
“To emphasize only the beautiful seems to me to be like a mathematical system that only concerns itself with positive numbers.”
“A line is a dot that went for a walk.”
Now a quote from pipe maker Christian Wolfsteiner.
“A pipe consists of lines. Not just a pipe but the whole world consists of lines. All you have to do is discover them and there really is no need to add any of your own interpretations. It is all right there, directly in front of us.”
Christian Wolfsteiner, who goes by the name Tarock Briar has more freedom than any of us put together. While most of us function inside a system we have created for ourselves, a system that is based on someone else’s ideas. Christian works from an honest place, free from rules & commonly held ideas & beliefs. While some pipe makers work to make others happy. Christian simply makes his art to make himself happy.
Christian does not consider himself an artist. He considers himself a story-teller.
Enjoy some of his fantastic work.
What beautiful flowing layers he shows us. A hardened form of cloth is what it looks like to me. The cloth is coated in a fantastic brown & yellow sheen that gives it an eerie semi-hardened quality. Even with some of the plateaux exposed, this pipe does not appear to be made from briar. It is beyond briar and into the land of true art.
A rare look at the insect like scorpion spiral spider from Madagaskar and it’s ready to eat!
It’s poisonous fins protruding, ready to quickly lash out at nearby prey.
As the weary fishermen brought up their last net of the day from the bottom of the ocean, a surprise came out. The fishermen often found unique objects intwined in their nets but this one was different. A golden pipe that had been at the bottom of the ocean collecting sea gunk & sea life for hundreds of years emerged and finally came out above the water. The pipe belonged to a former ruler of Babylonia. A fantastic & lucky find.
The above pipe descriptions are mine. This is exactly what Christian wants from us. For us, the audience, to look at his pipes & for us to find our own fantasy & for us to use that personal angle to explain what we see. So don’t try to figure out what was in his head, enjoy what you see in your own.
I will continue to oblige him this way for the rest of this article & obviously encourage you to come up with your own explanations as well.
The hunters were smart & very resourceful. They never wasted any part of the animals they killed. They found a multitude of uses for any body part or organ. They were known for drying out the skin and wrapping it around a spinal bone & then fashioning a stem out of the same. As the skin dried and hardened, it proved a good material to hold all the parts together.
All of the expression you see in his work today began to be forged when Christian was just a child of 10 years old. When the other kids would go off to play Soccer, Christian would grab a microscope and head to the woods to look at the details of leaves, bark and anything else that he could find in nature. He tells me: “All the colors and small nuances that you see in my pipes, it all comes from that general experience that I still enjoy so much. To look at and to deeply review & absorb the fine details that real nature shows us.”
All that remained of the wizard was his magical pipe. Although the wizard was gone, everyone knew that all they had to do was fill the pipe with tobacco and once fire was brought to it, the pipe’s magical powers would again be unleashed.
The fossil had always been shy. Whenever it was forced to interact with others at social gatherings, it often crouched down and awkwardly curled itself into a ball. As if it was trying to hide itself and make itself invisible to those around it.
My goodness do I enjoy looking at the above piece. What a fantastic work of art. It has so much life, so much movement. To those that are confused because you find yourself unable to look away, essentially, this is a good thing. It means that your mind is interested in what it is looking at and Christian has taken hold of your imagination.
Christian has been making pipes for over 20 years yet his work has only recently made it into the public eye. Back in the 80’s when he first started he just gave his pipes away to friends. His first visit to a pipe dealer 15 years ago produced an embarrassing result. Christian felt frustrated & he also felt like an idiot. Because of all these bad experiences with clearly unenlightened people, Christian kept his pipes mostly to himself and away from the public eye. It is because of this forced privacy that he learned to truly make pipes for himself. Meaning that he learned that he is most effective when the act of making any pipe was his own experience, never for an audience & never for someone else.
Lucky for us, 4 years ago Christian met Roger Wallenstein and Roger saw his work and was immediately floored by it. Roger was so shocked by Christian’s work that he immediately started posting images of it on pipe forums and things slowly started to take off. We owe a big thanks to Roger for kicking Christian in the butt. Christian considers Roger a good friend & a brother. They are a fine pair of misfits if you ask me.
Dead Sea coral.
Many of his customers are like-minded people and artisan’s themselves. Musicians, painters, authors & actors. Those people who have a true understanding of the creative spirit & those people who are not afraid to ignore ‘popular opinion’.
He will not take commission orders. It would break his spirit if he had to make the same pipe over again, 20 times in a row. As Christian says: “I am only good when I have absolute freedom in my work shop. If I had to make the same pipe 20 times over again, I know that I am not really growing. I only have one life to live and nothing is more expensive than time. I don’t want to waste my time.”
The shoe fit & so it was confirmed. She really was the true princess.
Anne Julie’s Evil Twin.
The Japanese man accepted his fate. He knew he had dis-honored his family. He bowed and prepared himself for his end.
Because we are who we are, Christian is able to describe a common scene: “I am happy when I see other pipe makers take my pipes into their hands, they touch the surface & this confused look pours over their face. That always ends up making me smile. What I do not like however is when people try to copy my work. I will often post a picture of my pipes and suddenly a few weeks later I see these same ideas being copied by someone else. I understand this part of the process but it should not be part of the overall intention.”
What Christian is ignoring at the moment is the general lack of true creative talent out there. Because it is missing, more often than not, people need an external spark to ignite something within them. Christian is that spark for so many new pipe makers. This will always be the case. The few will always guide the many and Christian is one of the true leaders of the Abstract agenda.
Christian says: “These new pipe makers should have the courage to make their own stuff. What is the sense in copying? They should try to have the courage to see what they see and to let their thoughts flow.” Unfortunately this is much easier said than done.
She flaunted her large curvy body without any grace whatsoever, she however, did not care. She enjoyed how she looked. She enjoyed her curves. She accepted who she was a long time ago.
The wound was too deep. He knew he could not find a cure anymore. The duck call disease was beginning to spread.
I think I will stop posting my own versions of names and you dear reader can start to make up your own with the rest of the images. So that my fantasy does not influence yours.
The hardest part for Christian will be to hold onto his innocence. To not allow himself to get infected with any popular culture notions or ideas and to stay ‘pure & clean’ so to speak. I wish him the best of luck and hope he continues to amaze me with pipe exteriors that only fascinate my eyes.
If you would like to purchase a Tarock Briar pipe, please visit:
Thank you to Erwin Van Howe for introducing me to this artisan.
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