Street art, an embodiment of powerful visual stories, often intersects with counter-culture, painting tales of resistance, acceptance, and social narratives. The fusion of street art and cannabis chronicles histories of societal change and decriminalization. Let’s delve deeper into the history, background, and profound impact of some iconic street artists and their intricate bond with cannabis culture.
1. Shepard Fairey
Shepard Fairey’s evolution in the art scene began with the underground skateboarding culture. While the “Obey Giant” campaign took the world by storm, Fairey has been known for his poignant political commentaries. His collaboration with pioneering CBD manufacturer, Charlotte’s Web, led to the “Trust the Earth” campaign – an impressive 76-acre art installation in a Kansas wheat field. Advocating hemp as a path to good health, this artwork, crafted by Fairey’s creative agency, Studio Number One, amplifies the bond between Fairey and cannabis. He mentioned, “Whether it’s a mural in Brooklyn, a poster in your home, or a field in Kansas, Studio Number One understands the power of art to compel change.”
Retna’s scripts merging contemporary designs with ancient calligraphy make a bold statement. His significant 30-foot installation at Stiiizy, a massive cannabis dispensary, stands as testimony to his connection with the cannabis world. The space exudes an aura that strengthens the brand’s presence, offering consumers an experience like no other.
3. Mike Giant
Embodying the spirit of counter-culture – tattoos, skateboarding, and graffiti – Mike Giant’s work has a deep-rooted bond with cannabis. His illustrations for “Dimensional Cannabis: The Pop Up Book of Marijuana,” the world’s first pop-up book on cannabis, beautifully encapsulate various facets of cannabis culture, proving his enduring connection with the green herb.
ROA’s larger-than-life murals depict tales of life, decay, and rebirth, mirroring the trajectory of cannabis from vilification to veneration.
5. Dabs Myla
Dabs & Myla’s dreamy artworks resonate with the sensory amplification cannabis provides. Their introduction to graffiti, as shared, stemmed from cannabis-infused adventures, painting a clear picture of their entwined relationship with the herb.
Deeply anchored in Mexico’s indigenous cultures and symbols, Neuzz’s artwork venerates sacred plants and their spiritual resonance, echoing the sentiments of the cannabis community.
7. Space Invader
Beyond nostalgia-inducing pixel artworks, Invader’s “Hollyweed” series stands out as a cheeky nod to cannabis. Created in response to his exhibition, “Into the White Cube,” in LA, it signifies his engagement with the cannabis narrative and its popular culture connections.
8. Alex Grey
The maestro of visionary art, Alex Grey, has continually celebrated cannabis in his masterpieces. His iconic “Cannabia” and “Cannabacchus” artworks for the Eighth and Nineteenth Cannabis Cup are a testament to this. Grey, with his wife Allyson, explored the aesthetic and sensual dimensions of perception heightened by cannabis, establishing it as an enabler of “higher vision.”
9. Kenny Scharf
As part of the 1980s New York art renaissance, Kenny Scharf intertwines surrealism with pop culture. His collaboration with The Church of Cannabis in Denver, adorning its walls with vibrant rainbows, speaks volumes of his connection to the cannabis culture. The church’s followers, identifying as “Elevationists,” value cannabis for its spiritual upliftment, resonating with Scharf’s vivid artistry.
Risk’s journey from guerrilla street art to mainstream appreciation resembles street art’s own path to recognition. His unique artwork “Cannabis Chronic Noodle Soup” is a playful nod to the pop art movement, integrating cannabis symbolism with popular culture, emphasizing his deep bond with the cannabis revolution.
As street art and cannabis narratives interweave, they challenge societal norms, inspire change, and symbolize freedom and authenticity. Celebrating these artists, we recognize the shared stories of cannabis and art, ever-intertwined in their quest for expression and acceptance.