The artwork and culture surrounding glass continues to expand in artistic exploration, function and overall popularity. Avatar Mccravy, better known as Avatar Glass, is a perfect example of how the underground scene of glass pipes and art has helped form an entirely new generation of artists.
At 22-years-old, Avatar feels like he is just at the beginning of what he knows will be an exciting career in glass. Avatar was born in 1998, only a few years before the infamous Operation Pipe Dreams took down many in the glass community, pushing the art scene further underground. He grew up on the East Coast in Asheville, North Carolina with parents who were big live music heads, traveling the country to see bands like Phish and the Grateful Dead. In what may seem like a quick rise to the upper echelon of the glass art scene, the career of Avatar has actually grown consistently and equally with the amount of love and effort he has put into the art form.
When asked where his drive comes from, he was quick to answer with a story about his mom: Avatar’s mother raised five kids by herself in a three bedroom apartment, and he watched her hustle and work extremely hard, eventually becoming a nurse to support her family.
According to Avatar, all of his early inspiration came from direct life experiences and getting into the glass game was tough. “I remember calling my mom and telling her that I thought I could really do it for a living,” Avatar recalls. “I picked it up quickly, but I was always just willing to put in hours. Everyone would almost laugh at me when I was 12 and telling people I wanted to be a glassblower. People would tell me I had to do this and that first, and basically go through all these levels. I just wanted to put in the hours.”
In 2011, the legendary documentary “Degenerate Art” was released and Avatar really saw the different levels to the glass game. So at age 15, he decided to approach glass with an entrepreneurial attitude, got a second job, saved up money and set up a mini torch in his mother’s garage. “Because I was under 18, no one wanted to teach me how to make a pipe,” says Avatar. “So I had to do it myself, and it definitely gave me that ‘do-it-myself’ attitude. I changed my Instagram to Avatar Glass when I was 16 and I remember someone hitting me up asking for a custom belt buckle and they’d give me $100, and that was it.” He quit his regular job and continued to hone his skills with his home-brew studio, completing his high school graduation project on lamp working – with most of his first sales of pendants and belt buckles going to his local high school friends.
By age 18, Avatar began having the desire to make his pieces more and more complex – largely due to collector demand. This is when the Astralcycler design was manifested. “Astral means ‘of the stars’ and everything on this earth came from them. Stars are like a reactor, they take fuel and convert it into something else. They form hydrogen into helium, and helium is built into carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and everything else we are made of. It’s a way of bringing it back to the origins of our creation and how in this universe, everything is connected,” says Avatar.
When asked how he’s gotten to this point in his career in glass art so quickly, Avatar notes, “Really what it comes down to is showing up every day and having this discussion with the muse. That you’re there every day and you’re sending the signal to the universe that you’re ready to work.”
Avatar’s first official show was held in March 2021 with Hickory Smoke Shop in California – a full body of work with some non-functionals, a series of Mythological Sphinxes and other work that represents his love, vision and output of energy into the artform he has spent his life pursuing.