Welcome to the world of Alex Ubatuba’s wondrous and elusive creations. Over the past 20 years, Alex has permanently carved his name into the glass world, offering a style and sleekness in a league of its own.
Alex is world famous for his pendants, known as Warlocks, which have been incorporated into his functional pipes and rigs and used in his Living Light Sculptures. He has worked with countless maestros, including Japanese artist Yoshinori Kondo, Adam G and Calvin Mickle on breathtaking Warlocks and various functional rigs.
This wizard of an artist is recognized for creating unique borosilicate colors that are simply out of this world. Alex also works with precious metals and gemstones – bringing to life Warlock pendants that look like they belong in a jewelry store.
Growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, Alex started collecting pipes at age 14 from a rave record and tape store in the city. At a Widespread Panic concert in 1997 at UIC, he and a friend met a glass blower for the first time selling his pipes in the parking lot.
“I wanted to learn how to make them and met two local pipemakers through a friend’s brother,” he tells me. “I bought a torch in 2001, and the journey began.”
After Operation Pipe Dreams in 2003, it forced the artists at Prodigy Glassworks to pivot in a new direction and focus on non-functional work to sell at art fairs. This time was pivotal in his glass-blowing career, opening his mind to new possibilities beyond pipes.
“I had a lot of traction till the 2008 market crash,” he explains. “That summer, I began selling pipes and pendants at music festivals. It reinstated my love for traveling and selling glass again.”
At Lucent L’Amour in 2009, Alex helped their team set up the venue in LA. He was mesmerized by how fabric and LED light interacted and immediately began exploring borosilicate sculptures illuminated by LED.
The first Europan Invertebrates sculpture was born in the summer of 2012. The sculpture debuted at Colorado’s Sonic Bloom Music Festival and was shown at Burning Man through Jen Ingram with Tribe 13 – blowing the minds of many, including my own.
“I realized I could bring my art to new venues and events outside the glass pipe world. I loved influencing people who had no idea about flameworked borosilicate glass. Shortly after, the Warlock pendants began to gain substantial traction. It allowed me to work consistently and continue to refine the Living Light Sculptures into a passion project. It was a massive jump-off point to continue pushing my personal limits of working with glass,” says Alex.
He currently resides in Evergreen, Colorado and works out of a state-of-the-art studio that he built called Satellite 6. The studio includes a gallery that showcases Living Light Sculptures, functional glass and fine jewelry pieces.
“The next few years will be exciting to watch as I create new work and explore new materials with no limitations. It’s an incredible facility to host collaborations, and I truly look forward to what the future holds now that everything is dialed in,” he shares.
Head over to his Instagram for available work and information about upcoming glass events.