I think what also would need to be considered to get the best effect on this image is the relative size of the pipe smoker to the cloud of smoke and how they both will be positioned on the bowl without making the pipe smoker too small or too big and losing the effect of the original image. I imagine you'd need to make the smoker fairly small and the cloud of smoke a thick band around the rim perhaps but there might be other solutions that look good.
As for the copyright thing, I'm an artist so I'd definitely say the artist should be contacted. Who knows, they might well realize that there is no money being made here and be willing to give permission to use the image in exchange for photos they could use on their website as a promotional tool, or in exchange for a pipe, or some other arrangement/agreement. They might even be a pipe smoker, considering the image, who knows? Worth contacting them and finding out if they can be reached. Please understand that I have no dog in this fight as I didn't vote as I probably won't be getting the pipe. I just thought that contacting the artist might be worth it and might alleviate the concerns and let everyone have the pipe the want.