Indisputably one of the most renowned artists in the industry today, Elbo is co-owner of Everdream Studio in Evergreen, Colorado, where he works alongside a number of top industry artists. Having made a name for himself in the pipe world via his dinosaur motif and diverse portfolio of original design work, he says: “My work is an attempt to transcend the function of the pipe by giving my very self to the process. I am led through the open field of my medium by personal life experiences and my reaction to the relationships in my life.”
Beyond art creation, Elbo’s cutting-edge approach to business and marketing has made him one of the most popular and best-selling pipe artists, with an Instagram following of 240K. His business interests and ventures have included everything from Bitcoin to NFTs (non-fungible tokens). In association with Blunt Action, Elbo experimented with the potential for an augmented reality app, which would provide an immersive way for users to experience a 3D computer-generated reality to interact with his creations through their iOS devices. In response to his travels in Japan, the artist also began making plush and vinyl toys, some 4-feet tall, further entrenching the Elbo brand in the hearts and minds of fans and followers.
In 2005, Elbo began working with soft glass in the hot shop at Tyler School of Art and Architecture in his hometown of Philly. It wasn’t until after he graduated in 2009 that he started working with borosilicate glass and making pipes. He credits Zach Puchowitz with early inspiration and lessons on the torch. After running his own successful studio, in 2014 Elbo and JOP! opened Front Street Gallery in Kensington, Philadelphia. The gallery endeavored to bring the city’s most influential, beloved glass artists into the limelight allowing fans and collectors to admire and purchase their newest work. It was essentially a who’s-who of modern flameworking, featuring Philly artists like Zach Puchowitz, Snic Barnes, Marble Slinger (of Degenerate Art fame), Just Another Glassblower, and more. Front Street Gallery helped put Philadelphia on the map as a destination for the ever-growing glassblowing movement.
In 2013, Elbo relocated to Colorado and became one of a stable of the industry’s best glassblowers including WJC, Eusheen, Adam G, and N8 Miers working at Everdream Studio. Created as a space for all creatives not just glass, the studio provides a secluded environment with not many distractions, enabling Elbo to focus on his craft and the development of art.
Pipe making represents the American renaissance of sculptural art, Elbo believes. “I want pipe making to be synonymous with high-end art, but I don’t believe it’s there yet. I thought it was, but the more I’m exposed to true high-end art, I see that pipe making has a long way to go. The biggest hurdle we have to get over is the close-mindedness in the industry. We need to take bigger risks, create things not for other people to see but what we want to see. If people begin to do that in our industry, it will naturally evolve into a higher form of art.”