The fourth in a series by Made By Hand, The Cigar Shop focuses on Jesus Martinez who is carrying on his father’s work which began in 1974. Martinez’s father, Don Antonio, a Dominican immigrant, started his small shop, Martinez Cigars, in New York City 38 years ago; to this day, the business provides a place for community and craftsmanship to come together in a playful environment where work is just as important as the relationships it nurtures.
The Brooklyn based initiative was created out of the belief that “the things we collect, consume, use, and share are part of who we are as individuals,” while the short film series celebrates visionaries in varying fields who make things by hand sustainably and locally and with love, whether it be honey, gin, knives or in this case cigars. Directed by creator of Made By Hand, Keith “keef” Ehrlich, the black and white film’s smoky overlay engulfs the viewer in the sense of brotherhood that the cigar shop has opened up to its diverse community. However, what is most interesting about the film’s portrayal is that although it does not focus on cigars being the crucial element for the patrons enjoyment and aesthetics of the shop, in some ways the glorification of smoking is explored in a very subliminal context, as to whether ‘social smoking’ is acceptable, which is unexpected in today’s society where the act is particularly taboo.
Still to come in the series is The Bike Maker which follows Ezra Caldwell (Fast Boy Cycles), who was diagnosed with cancer in 2008, however Made By Hand follows Caldwell as he survives by documenting his illness as thoroughly as his craft.