Living in Athens that was once the cradle of civilisation, walking along the streets which inspired democracy and speaking the same language through which Plato and Socrates shaped their ideas is bound to affect a person’s life. Add to that the still tangible vestiges of magnificent art and captivating mythology condensed in the Acropolis, where the Parthenon carves a geographic and historical profile of the timeless capital. In other words, if it is true that the place in which you grow up affects your emotional growth, apart from the family’s genetic baggage, then it is easy to understand what inspires Konstantinos Anastasoupolos’s pipes, which arise out of this emotional and historical background.
This is why it is no wonder that his motto is “beneath every block of briar lies a pipe. The pipemaker’s task is to find it.” The task is to respect what hides beneath appearance, to know how to interpret Nature’s innate magic, to draw out the truth in the web of myths. Konstatinos began to make pipes precisely because he wished to pay tribute to his vision of the world. If there is no pipe which resembles me, he thought one day, maybe I should make one myself. He does not consider making pipes a job, but just an extension of the soul through other means. Briar traps the instance of becoming and it is up to the pipe maker to unlock this, giving it shape and substance for the world. Whoever smokes this coming into existence of the spirit, shares the happiness of the person who fashioned it. Konstantinos does not mind selling his creatures. Indeed, he knows he is the demiurge of Beauty’s potential nature that his clients will hold in their hands. If a basketball coach comes to him for a tailor-made pipe, he only has to observe the coach’s aura emanating from him and match it to his cultural and emotional baggage. The essence is thus captured and substance will reflect the character and personality traits of the person. Thus, from Konstantinos’ skillful hands emerged the Basketball pipe.
Similarly, if a mosquito dares to land on his forearm one evening and bites him, the discomfort may be turned into a chance to exercise the imagination. Nature always has to be observed. How many times did Zeus change appearance to possess divinities and mortals, and thanks to his deception gave birth to semi-gods and new visions of the world? Similarly, Konstantinos crafts and brings to light his pipes. Blood and tradition flow in his veins, and while the mosquito feeds on him, like the father of the gods he achieves a transformation: he personally becomes mosquito and then pipe, more precisely the Mosquito pipe. Going to the lathe to craft the image out of the briar, rather like a photographer working in a dark room, is immediate, almost impelling. The images suddenly appear and insist on being turned into reality instantly.
However, sometimes reality may restrain the imagination. For instance, when the Greek pipe maker was working on a classic Rhodesian and he had to deal with a defect in the briar which prevented him from carrying on. A month passed by while he mulled over the problem, until he had an intuition. The hole in the wood which was in the wrong place was quite deep, going from one end to the other. What at first had seemed to be a serious defect became a simple absence. Indeed, the briar lacked nothing, because only if you looked at it from the point of view of a classical shape could it be said that something was missing, whereas when his mind freed itself of the deception and he realized that although the wood was not perfect it was not a problem, he created the Emmental Rhodesian pipe.
This simplicity in understanding the complexities of life and the ideas that the universe offers Konstantinos comes from way back in time, something that existed before him. Besides, when someone is steeped in myths and universal archetypes, which only the Greeks can say they have in their own family and spiritual tree, nothing is ever complicated, maybe only complex. This is why his colleague’s advice to “keep it simple” struck an incredibly familiar chord at the beginning of his career, when he was just starting to channel his creative energy. The pipe maker had just awakened a thousand-year-old echo within him.
Special thanks to Mr. Konstantinos Anastasopoulos for his precious contribution
Milan, October 2013