Some of the most coveted glass in cannabis has hit the market in Los Angeles as MADE Gallery has put one of the shop’s old school Team Japan collaborations on the market.
Over the last decade, no glass artists outside North America have played in the same league as Team Japan for cannabis enthusiasts. Team Japan is a bunch of killer glass artists from Japan. While big American names would rule the decade, there was a special kind of hype around the work coming off Team Japan’s torches. And among the pack the SLOP C.U.P., Contemporary Undercover Pipe, are some of the most coveted. SLOP is a collective name for the small group of artists that make the cup. This includes Daisuke Saito aka DISK, the design’s originator.
Most commonly referred to as a SLOP Cup, the Happy Meal beverage inspired design paired with wild design work over the years has carved its place in the hall of fame. The hype levels are only compounded when another member of Team Japan joins SLOP to work on a cup. A recent effort with Junichi Kojima, aka Rose Roads, went for $18,000.
Black Book Gallery noted, “By infusing an ancient art form – glass blowing – with a punk ethos, SLOP has elevated pipe making from a fringe movement to the echelons of avant-garde contemporary design. Furthermore, the growing acceptance of cannabis usage in both North America and abroad has cemented SLOP’s status as visionary pioneers in this burgeoning art form.”
As soon as we had eyes on an old school SLOP Cup being available in L.A., we wanted to let folks know. The Los Angeles edition of The MADE Gallery announced an OG SLOP Cup was available this week. It’s so old that it’s a male that comes with a dome. Domes are usually a dealbreaker and have been for about five or six years when you’re talking about the elite end of the market. But when the dome is covered by the work of Rose Roads and includes an opal by Yoshinori Kondo, you’re talking about a different kind of animal.
The asking price for this Team Japan triple collab is $17,000.
MADE Gallery was actually a sponsor of Team Japan’s first big North American appearance at the Treating Yourself Expo. “That was like the first time that I ever sponsored any sort of show, and it was sponsored to bring them over for that show in Toronto. So that was a huge breakout thing for me in 2013,” Mazurek told L.A. Weekly.
We asked the exotic glass dealer if it was safe to say Team Japan still represented the most hot-ticket items on the glass market being crafted outside North America?
“Yes, definitely,” said Mazurek.
He spoke of the first time he was introduced to the work of the Japanese artists at a gem show in Arizona. After first seeing the pendants, he saw his first SLOP Cup not long after, “you know I got introduced to them more, and we’re starting to be like okay, what can I do to get cups? You know? At the time, it was seven to ten years ago. It was a little bit harder to get a hold of somebody, just email. There was no social media, there was no growth, bigger exposure.”
For a moment before they exploded into the stratosphere, Mazurek would be on call when an American artist would head to Japan for a collab or if the team came stateside. Eventually, social media made it a lot more competitive for high-end shops to get their hands on this level of glass but over the years MADE Gallery locations in L.A. and Chicago have seen over 30 cups come through their doors.
“Of pipes I’ve seen sell internationally, I’ve seen more of those bought and sold,” Mazurek said. “It’s such a classic piece.” The highest known price for a SLOP Cup was a collaboration with Mothership Glass at their Vancouver show that went for a six-figure amount.
Now nine months into lockdown, we asked Mazurek what the exotic glass market looks like at this moment and if COVID-19 has had a big impact?
“I mean, it’s tough because people still collect,” he replied. “Back in the day there were less shows and now there are even more shows, so it’s like, to me, I’d never see it slowing down as much as some people see the market has stopped. For certain artists it does, they just hit the top-end point, but contemporary modern art is amazing, so people keep buying it.”
The customer base for MADE Gallery’s biggest glass items tends to come from those who have found success in the cannabis industry. Mazurek called it one of the things he was most proud of, because he knows those people will have a special appreciation for them when they use it.
Mazurek said the current marketplace is still strong. Once you reach a certain level of artists, their shows are still selling out of everything regardless of if there is a pandemic or not.
Keep an eye on The MADE Gallery Instagram to see their newest inventory.