As the trendy apparatus for globs and bong loads reach new levels of lore and mystique, many glass artists’ styles are converging into a single, marketable aesthetic.
This is not the case for our featured artist Scott Moan. Whether it’s the headiest mini-tube or the next wave of scientific production pieces, you’ll be hard pressed to find someone else doing anything quite like what Moan is doing.
Moan got into the game right at the start of the new millennium. He’s pretty sure it was 2001, but some of his friends claim it was 2000. He spent a couple years doing high-end production work — in particular a lot of multilayered fume work — “to create ‘that look’ that was super popular back then.”
During the beginning of his career, the Oregon-based artist did his best to make huge pieces. These days, the most recognizable works Moan creates feature some of the best symmetrical and geometric shapes in the game.
The size of the marbles Moan creates, his towers and the quality of his assembly are all fantastic in their own right but, when combined, they produce an exceptionally unique look. Despite the one-off feel to his pieces, Moan spends a major amount of time creating the symmetry across many of his larger solo works.
“When I do quads, the level of intricacy starts to jump quick,” he said. “Getting two things to match is hard, three is harder and four is way harder.”
These quads are known as Archbishops. Some of the smaller offerings in the line include pieces that Moan calls “Bishops” and “Choir Boys.” Regardless of the uniform titles, each of the pieces has a unique spin dialed to Moan’s taste in that moment.
“I’m kind of picky in that way, everything always has to be just so,” he said. “If I get too much food on my plate, I get unappetized. I guess it’s more of an expectation than a choice.”
After a decade of production work, Moan decided it was time to get more abstract with his projects to keep things fresh.
“It was good money but I realized I wasn’t being challenged,” he said. “I wanted to work on doing ‘not a pattern’ — how do we do something that has no pattern in it? I tried to lose intention, so I would end up with whatever. I started mixing in all kinds of dots, lines.”
This year his stylings took on new levels of popularity, with a jawbreaker line of solo and collaboration works gaining widespread acclaim thanks to a new twist on his technique.
Moan said he had never done the jawbreaker style on a white glass background, despite telling photographers they should shoot his pieces on a white background.
“I’d been doing it awhile, then put it over white and it was five times more popular than anything else I’d ever done online,” he said.
One of the standout pieces from the collection was a collaboration with Ryan Meade of Meade Made Glass. Moan did the prep work, then Meade shaped it into one of his popular two-stemmed Beldars for three days.
Meade said this was also the first time had ever attempted a fully opaque Beldar.
“I couldn’t see what was going on inside,” he said. “It was certainly one of the most challenging pieces I’ve worked on.”
Meade was a big fan of the porcelain look of the finished product. Kovacs Glass dropped a matching bucket and flavor cap onto the piece, putting things over the top to absolute filthy levels of hype.
“The people I work with challenge me on an individual basis, give me new ideas, or make me want to make things easier to them,” said Moan.
Some of Moan’s regular collaborators include Nathan Belmont, Rone, and Don Chile Ortega. He said they also serve as his biggest inspirations.
Moan also credited Robert Nicholson as a huge inspiration and said Cha and his “super smooth sculptures” are underrated. His final shoutout went to regular glass awards-nominee, Buck
Moan says that he values the glass community, but doesn’t like how often people focus on prestige over art.
“I think we just over-obsessed with competition, like sometimes the competitive aspect overshadows the creative aspect,” said Moan. “Artists should make it a personal journey rather than a competition.”
The best way to get access to Moans work is through his Instagram account @scomomoanet. He is also nationally distributed through Joint Forces.