Cannabis in Art: Drawing Inspiration from the Plant

The first step in the creation of art is inspiration.

Painters have been known to capture the essence of emotion, while musicians write songs about heartbreak and loneliness. Poets, sculptures, rock stars, mythical beings—they all have a muse.

Marijuana has acted as an artistic muse for hundreds of thousands of years, and continues to pull both artists and consumers into a state of elevated consciousness. And why wouldn't it? The herb is known to boost creativity and bolster open-mindedness. A high-potency strain with lots of THC can take consumers to an altered state. Creation is a natural progression.

Cannabis has made waves in art, as a source of inspiration, as a subject matter, and as a vital piece of the artistic method and process.

Where Have We Seen Cannabis in Art?

Ancient Times

image of a wall carving of the ancient egypitan figure Seshat with her signature seven-pointed leaf above her head
Courtesy of http://tokinwoman.blogspot.com/2014/05/seshat-goddess-of-knowledge-and-cannabis.html
Cannabis art has taken many different forms over the years, and has inspired art consumers in various ways. Whether masterpieces have depicted the literal imagery of a hemp plant or have explored the deep and spiritual connection to the herb, artists have captured the essence of marijuana for hundreds of thousands of years, and are still going strong.

One famous ancient example of cannabis art is traced back to the earliest hieroglyphics. Seshat was an Egyptian goddess often depicted in drawings, featured in many of the earliest drawings found in existence; in each and every picture, a seven-point leaf was adorned above her head. You guessed it: the goddess never parted with the power of the cannabis plant.

Seshat has been credited as the creator of scripture, and the heir to the written form of the Arabic language and mathematics. Her connection to the herb, as some kind of seven-pointed crown depicted in so many paintings and drawings, relates strongly to creativity and power, which she was able to tap into for the betterment of humankind.

The artists who depicted Seshat were likely taken by her strength and contributions, and were using art as a method of storytelling or preserving history. Who knows: maybe they also admired the herbal headdress, and also took a toke or two while carving their own impressions into the solid rock around them.

Free Love, Baby

image of cannabis in art in the psychedelic style with colorful marijuana leaves and other colorful images on a black background

Much, much later, cannabis became a regular source of inspiration within the art world. In the sixties and seventies, people began to question authority and rebel against the norms and roles designed to keep minds docile. The art, which included everything from music to poetry to paintings and everything in between, was heavily influenced by everything cannabis stood for. Mind expansion, free thinking, exploration.

Psychedelic art is considered any kind of art, including visual displays, which are inspired by psychedelic experiences, and was hugely popular thanks to the 1960s counterculture. And while a significant chunk of this art was due to LSD or acid drug use, the THC in cannabis can also be credited for mind-altering motivation. Things like murals, concert posters, liquid light art, album covers, comic books, and zines were created in the name of political and social revolutions, a la weed and psychoactive states of consciousness.

Cannabis in art can also be traced to music and some of the great bands and artists of this time period. Marijuana was crooned about, by everyone from Bob Marley to The Beatles to Aerosmith to Bob Dylan, and just about every major musician who played at Woodstock or stood up to the man had a stoner anthem.

Modern Admiration

 image of beautiful green marijuana leaves hanging in bunches with a white background as an example of cannabis in art

As marijuana has become less and less of a taboo topic and substance, the art scene has reflected the movement and growth toward herbal acceptance and appreciation. In addition to stores selling pot leaf socks, tattoo accounts that decorate skin with bud, and Etsy shops dedicated completely to Mary Jane, there's also a place in the fine art world for everyone's favorite flower.

There are now artists known and recognized specifically for their contributions to the niche world of cannabis art. They're also very open and candid about their consumption and the inspiration that comes from smoking weed on a regular basis.

Trog, for example, is a world-renowned cannabis artist from Melbourne, Australia. Trog is known for his psychedelic pop style, which has earned him a reputation as one of the most recognized marijuana artists of the modern era. His work has made its way through major marijuana events (everything from Hempfest to Kush Cup to Hempstock), and has been picked up by major bands like Slightly Stoopid and Kottonmoouth Kings.

Another artist named Glenn Little II has cultivated a following due to his mixture of cannabis in art, and his passion for creating. After suffering from a career-ending ski accident, Little turned to MMJ. Later, he picked up a paint brush. The combination of the two has led to one of today's most prolific marijuana artists in the game.

Your Turn

drawing of two hands reaching out for each other on a white background. one hand is holding a joint and the other hand is holding a lighter

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