If you are into cannabis or music, it’s more likely than not that you’ve unknowingly seen Greg Welch’s art somewhere.
Under the Cannabiscapes acronym, the young creator has produced hundreds of art pieces using ground cannabis flowers and other related products for everyone and their grandmothers. From art galleries, to stores, to album covers, Cannnabiscapes have become a must-have for cannabis aficionados.
But, how did this guy go from having to hide his actual name to distribute his art to becoming one of the best-known craftspeople in the pot world?
According to Welch, much of his success can be attributed to collaboration and bartering. No ego was involved in the process: just a desire to get his art out to the world.
“People at shows that would have new items for the cannabis industry and I would offer to trade. I’d make some weed art, post it up on my Instagram account, and get something cool for my archives. Win win,” he said during a recent interview.
And his good will paid off. Four years later, Greg is working with many of the companies he collaborated with early on in his career.
Now, let’s rewind for a second: where did the idea of making art with marijuana come from?
Putting The One Hitter Before The Blunt
Greg wasn’t a cannabis consumer as a youngster. In fact, he fist started consuming it in his 20s, when he moved to South Florida and fell in with a group of people he defines as “successful hustlers.”
“All were responsible and smoked weed so I figured it couldn’t be all bad,” he voiced. “That was really the start of me consuming and recognizing the connections that cannabis creates.”
A few years later, Greg decided to look for a job in the cannabis industry, landing a sales role for a track and trace software company.
He recalls hundreds of cold calls he had with West Coast and Colorado-based companies, and the subsequent opportunity these contacts generated. He was travelling all around the country, meeting cannabis industry pioneers, making friend and business connections, getting to know the space.
“That really showed me that I was in right space with the right people,” he said.
And it was around that time that he started making weed art and created the Cannabiscapes Instagram account.
“I was thinking about who I’d want to smoke weed with and what the best way to make that happen would be. My solution was to make their faces out of weed,” he explained.
In his mind, no other figure in the world said weed more than Snoop Dogg. So, he found a reference photo and spent “way too much time shaping it into, in retrospect, a pretty awful rendition of the Doggfather.”
Ultimately, his goal was to create pieces that people appreciated prior to, or without ever knowing, that they were made out of pot. And, he felt, that first trial did not make the cut.
“My goal is to create something that my 85-year-old grandmother, who doesn’t like weed and doesn’t really like what I do, would appreciate. That’s kind of the game I play.”
As time went by, Greg perfected his craft. And with it came the public attention.
Things really took off when he made a piece for a Berner album in late 2017.
This was a special moment for him.
“It was not only memorable because of who he is in the game, but also it was my first major project and it immediately put me in front of a huge population of cannabis enthusiasts.”
But, despite the recognition, Greg was not ready to come out of the cannabis closet just yet. He still signed all of his pieces as Ty Forto.
“For a long time I was making the stuff out of Florida and, specifically at that time, it was still pre-medical, so the landscape wasn’t very good for putting my name out publicly for making pictures out of pot,” he explicated.
Beyond legality, Greg was concerned with public perception.
“I was also worried about judgment. And back to location: I was literally living right behind the police station and it was one of those things that…not that I have anything really to hide other than some pot… but don’t create problems that are avoidable, ya know?”
The time to go West had come, he thought in 2018. And so he did.
“Now I don’t give a f*ck; I’m all about putting my face and name out there to promote to the right aspects of the industry.”
Making A Career Out Of Weed Art
In the past, this column focused on cool cannabis jobs has looked into the emergence of cannabis art and the viability of making a career out of it. People like cannabis photographer Bentley Rolling, comedian Rachel Wolfson, performance artist Laganja Estranja, or multimedia artist Emily Eizen, are living proof of it.
“I mean, anything can be a career if you do it long enough, right?” – Greg commented when prompted about the issue.
But one can’t make it alone, he added. It’s all about connecting with the right people and establishing authentic, lasting relationships.
“By spending time with some of the people that have pioneered different aspects of the game, or have been in it for a long time, it’s really humbling to see how much they put into what they do and what kind of sacrifices, personal risks, they’ve taken on.”
Nowadays, Greg creates cannabis art, and advises many companies on marketing, design and aesthetics.
“There’s definitely opportunities to create a business out of the cannabis art by networking correctly and leveraging those relationships. That’s something that I’m continuing to explore and experiment with, and see which direction I want to go with it. I’m still in an exploratory phase and enjoying the journey. But my mind is always looking at gaps in the market and ways to help the aspects of the industry I support,” he added.
Taking his own advice, Greg is starting a podcast and web series in 2021, exploring new opportunities to create around cannabis culture.
“I get to spend time with so many inspiring people, I feel obligated to start sharing more of their stories. And that’s where I’m looking in 2021, I’m going to start a podcast and web series around the hustle and show people what the real weed game looks like. At least what we’re ready to show, if you know what I mean,” he explained.
‘Provide Value Before Requesting Value’
For Greg, there’s no slowing down. At any given time, he said, he’s got roughly 10 projects “swimming around” in his head.
“I wanna ride the wave wherever the weed game takes me. Whoever’s got events going on, whoever I’ve recently collaborated on with a logo piece that I wanna drop off and meet in person and sesh, or a pop up at a dispensary… Whatever is going on, that’s what I wanna experience right now because it’s unprecedented, it will never happen again, and I’m fortunate that I get to hang out with some of the best to ever do it.
“My number one piece of advice to anybody seeking to make it as any type of content creator is to provide value before requesting value,” he ended. “What I mean by that is before you ask somebody to part with their hard-earned money, show them how you can help them. So many of my projects have come from me creating a piece for a brand I respect and simply posting it. The right people see and share work they vibe with and that goes a long way in weed.”
10 year-old uses art and music as emotional outlet during pandemic – CTV Toronto
The last 10 months haven’t been easy for 10 year-old Anushka Sabeshan.
“It’s been pretty hard. I get anxious about these things,” she told CTV News Toronto. “My classmate tested positive, my dad tested positive, so it’s just been like a whole rollercoaster for me. And I feel like a lot of kids around the world are feeling that way right now.”
The Markham, Ont. girl has been channeling her feelings and emotions through different artistic platforms, like painting.
“This art like shows like how I want it to be, or how it is now, or how it’s changed and they just really express my feelings,” Sabeshan explained. “I’ve also been creating music.”
It’s Sabeshan’s music that caught the attention of her teacher and classmates. As part of a school project, the students were tasked with creating a song about COVID-19. Sabeshan’s song, ‘Mayhem,’ was so well received that her family allowed it to go public. A production team also helped her put together a music video.
“My song is about a child through the pandemic, and it shows how this can affect kids, too,” Sabeshan said. “Not being able to see my friends and not being able to go out to restaurants and all that stuff, it sucks.”
Sabeshan’s younger brother Devin helped with the video The six-year-old says he shares many of his sister’s emotions.
“I felt really bad about COVID,” he told CTV News Toronto. “I wish it would go away.”
The siblings hope ‘Mayhem’ brings a feeling of calm to other young people during this difficult time.
“I think my music people will help other people just to reassure them that they’re not alone. Like, other people are feeling these feelings, too,” Sabeshan said. “It also is to create awareness for everybody to stay safe so we can get through this faster.”
“[Anushka] sings them a song to make them happy,” Devin says. “That’s what she does for other kids.”
‘Mayhem’ was put together with the help of Enliven Entertainment and Steve Cliff Valentine, who produced the music, along with Jeysan Sivakumar, who directed the video.
Sabeshan’s advice for other kids experiencing complex feelings during this time is to find something to do that makes them happy, or that they feel passionate about.
“I will definitely keep making paintings and making music,” she told CTV News Toronto. “And I encourage all people around the world to find things like what they like and just do them, just to take your mind off the pandemic.”
Outdoor Gallery Stratford project brings art to life – The Beacon Herald
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“I want to flip that idea on its side and have the viewer engage in the evolution of the art piece itself – watching it change and seeing a bit of the creative process as it goes,” Dunnem said.
Dunnem used hot and cold water and soap to turn natural wool from a stuffing-like texture to fabric that wouldn’t fall apart. She used plant-based dye to colour the material and then cut more than 360 pieces that were affixed to the tree using its bark as a natural adhesive.
The project is similar to another soft sculpture piece Dunnem created in the summer that incorporated the gallery’s trees.
“I’ve always had a close relationship with nature and trees,” she said. “I spend a lot of time out in the woods and the forest. Even as a young child we spent our summers in a remote area where there were no other humans, so I adopted the trees as more than trees – as friends – and that’s been ingrained.”
After Dunnem has attached the last piece of wool Thursday, the project will live on – kind of.
“I think there is just as much beauty in the deterioration and in the decay as there is in the actual artwork,” she said. “The sun, the light, the cold, the hot will start to break down the fibres, and bugs and spiders and natural material will start to hold on to the fibres as well, and it becomes its own piece of art without human intervention.”
The project has garnered attention both in person and on social media for those who can’t make it to the gallery, including someone from Austria, Dunnem said.
Gallery Stratford closed its doors to guests Dec. 24, and Brayham hopes to reopen in early April. Until then, outdoor artwork like Dunnem’s is a chance to both engage the public and encourage mindfulness and physical activity.
“Many of us right now are spending so much time on screens,” Brayham said, “so being present with the environment and present with art and with your feelings is so important right now.”
Outdoor public art exhibit of painted canoe paddles comes to downtown Peterborough in February – kawarthaNOW.com
A new outdoor public art exhibit featuring 20 canoe paddles painted by volunteer artists in the community is coming to downtown Peterborough in February.
Presented by the Downtown Vibrancy Project, the Painted Paddle art exhibit will be installed in street-front windows at various locations through the downtown area, including the Peterborough & the Kawartha Tourism Visitor Centre, Le Petit Bar, St. Veronus, Boardwalk Game Lounge, Sam’s Deli, Black Honey Bakery, Cork and Bean, B!KE, Watson and Lou, Cottage Toys, By The Bridge, GreenUp Store, Night Kitchen, Peterborough Downtown Business Improvement Area office, Meta4 Gallery, The Avant-Garden Shop, Sustain, Bluestreak Records, and Peterborough Social Services.
For those interested in taking a self-guided tour of the Painted Paddle exhibit, a map of all locations will be available at linktr.ee/LoveForTheBoro.
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“Art brightens the spirit and has a way of making people feel good,” says Tracie Bertrand, director of tourism at Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development. “The Painted Paddle art project will put a smile on people’s faces as they fondly reflect on their memories of being outdoors here in Peterborough and the Kawarthas.”
Some of the people and organizations who have contributed paddle art for the project include Peterborough mayor Diane Therrien, Hiawatha First Nation, Wiigwaas Hiawatha Store, Peterborough Police Service, Peterborough DBIA, GreenUP, Trent Gzowski College, Trent Veg Garden, Peterborough Pollinators, Princess Gardens Retirement Residence, Empress Gardens Retirement Residence, St. Anne’s School, VegFest, B!KE, the Art School of Peterborough, city councillors Kim Zippel and Kemi Akapo, mother-and-daughter team Eileen and Kendron Kimmett, local Anishinaabe artist Kyler Kay, and local artist Tiphaine Lenaik.
“The paddle creates a unique way to honour and acknowledge the original families in Treaty 20,” says Tim Cowie, lands and resource consultant with Hiawatha First Nation, one of many creative community members who lent their artistic skills to the Painted Paddle project. Cowie painted his paddle to look like a piece of birch bark (wiigwaas) and painted the clans (dodems) on his paddle to showcase the family ties of the Michi Saagiig.
Jill Stevens, economic development officer of Hiawatha First Nation, incorporated Michii Saagiig culture as part of their painted paddle installation.
“Having a paddle as the canvas was the perfect backdrop for the Hiawatha logo, which depicts someone paddling through manomin (wild rice) stands,” Stevens says.
The Painted Paddle exhibit will be on display in downtown Peterborough from Monday, February 1st until Friday, March 5th.
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Painted paddles from the exhibition will be available in a virtual auction beginning at 8 p.m. on Friday, February 19th and continuing until 8 p.m. on Thursday, March 4th, just before the March First Friday Peterborough art crawl.
Proceeds from the auction at www.32auctions.com/paintedpaddles will go towards the One City Employment Program, which provides meaningful work to those with barriers to traditional employment.
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