In a tumultuous world where government officials and celebrity are one, where bias often champions truth and capitalism is a driving global force; it can become difficult to extract oneself from the white noise of impressing global crises. Thank god for pot. The white noise of the goings on in the outside world can compound with most of us anxious Annies. We bear the psychological weight of a negatively toned, rolling rhetoric. Sometimes, it’s just all far too much information to disseminate.
Historical studies suggest that information overload is nothing new. Renaissance scholars felt overwhelmed when the printing press became readily available. Too many books and not enough time. It doesn’t shy from relating to the universal plight felt amongst bookworms today! From my experience, pot and art are essential components in alleviating pangs of pressing white noises. My brain is wired to exasperate my body. Rapid thuds from incessant heavy footing, running around and not taking a moment generally burns the candle at both ends. I need to relax from whirring thoughts of corruption and feeble powerlessness. I have to rest my body. So, artistically driven, I like to create to escape. And weed for me, well, it provides a stress-free platform; a perfect incubator for calm. Colouring has given me focus.
Over the past several years, there has been a huge resurgence in coloring books as an aid for relaxation. Adult coloring books that have been in circulation since the ‘60s, took off hugely in the mid-2010s. As the craze unfurled and appealed to the mainstream, it sparked a wide range of interesting debate. Art therapists were in disrepute about the methodology of coloring as a form of therapy (it’s art that is therapeutic, as opposed to art therapy). Susan Neiman from the Telegraph critically demonized adults under 30 as wanting to be infantilized. Apparently, we have no idea how to think for ourselves. She commented on the craze by saying it’s part of a, “collective madness.”
In 2017, CNN reported on research that proved a significant drop in anxiety levels when subjects colored geometric shapes. This is unsurprising as firstly; the movement of repetitious hand strokes when ruffling a pooch is beneficial in reducing heart rate and blood pressure, helping to reduce anxiety and stress. Secondly, there’s minimal pressure to ‘conceptualise’ ideas. The objective is centered around filling color. For want of better use, it’s an accessible and affordable ejection from the world around us. When depression, anxiety, and stress manifest themselves, it can be difficult to concentrate, to think. Trying to conceptualize an idea can become an obstacle, presenting anxiety-inducing feelings; as opposed to encouraging the polar opposite. Colouring can assist with promoting a sense of ability and can act a springboard for other creative endeavors.
Now, speaking of collective madness, I work in a wonderfully interesting, bright and colorful Cannabis industry. No, I am not a scientist, a scientific layman, if you will. A left-brainer with peripheral attachments to the scientific industry, interested in furthering my knowledge of the science and psychology behind my personal, medical and professional relationship with pot. Last year, the Substance Use and Misuse Journal published a paper which concluded that artists are, “aware of the balancing phenomenon during the artistic creative process. Whether psychoactive substance(s) or other environmental stimuli (such as music) are used to reach the required effect appears to depend upon the individual”.
My individual pushback from information overload, is to paint, although I’m not extraordinarily polished with a brush. I am a writer and can often struggle to find my voice. Sometimes inspiration is lacking and the thought of making tasty mustard, tomato, spinach, and cheese sandwich, holds greater appeal than the scrutinizing study of a blank page. More often than not, the overwhelming sense of simply not knowing where to start can be the biggest impediment to creative progression. Which is the opposite of the outlet I know creativity to be. It’s meant to be stress-free, not inducing.
Drawing doesn’t come easily to me. Relaxation even less so. And I am no anomaly in this regard. After researching the positives of adult coloring books, pages, posters, I developed a personal relationship with the templates at my disposal and began my personal pot filled methodology to this style of creative expression. Last November, WEEDS curated an exhibition showcasing artwork by Bob High. The Vancouver artist has been integral in visually depicting the rich pot activism and hard work of Carol Gwilt and Don Briere. WEEDS have been hugely encouraging in promoting an independent relationship with coloring, appealing to the artist in us all.
You can find Carol and Don in Signe Knutson’s 420 Colouring Book, which was released December of last year. I for one am very excited to color freely, unafraid of veering outside of the lines.
Mary Poppins has style. I write short stories about sad Irish people. Communications at WEEDS.