This article appears in Volume 5 – Issue 6 of SKUNK Magazine.
ONE OF THE AMAZING THINGS about art is the complete void of limitations regarding creation. Everyday, we are introduced to new forms and new mediums from which art is devised. Cliff Maynard is one of those innovators. Having always been involved in the art world, though in various forms, Maynard has created his own unique art that tokers and non-tokers alike can truly appreciate.
Well, I guess the obvious first question would be where did the idea come from?
I was learning about mosaics years ago in art school. The teacher gave us a homework assignment; I had to create a mosaic using bits of construction. In my mind I connected the construction paper bits with roach papers. That’s how it all started.
How are they put together?
I start with a reference picture. I then trace that picture on tracing paper. That trace is then transferred to thin rigid board commonly known as rag board. The transfer process leaves a light pencil tracing on the rag board that I can use as a guide. I then use an Exacto knife to trim the roach papers to give me the basic shape and tones that I need. However, in the beginning, all the papers I used were hand torn. All of the detail you see is nothing but resin and layering of the roach papers.
How do you choose who or what gets the “chronic” treatment?
At first, I chose images that were loved and recognized by most people, like Jerry Garcia and Jim Morrison. Obviously, it’s also because they have a deep connection with marijuana. I also ask a lot of the people around me what they think I should do next. I like having different ideas and opinions before I start on any new projects.
Recently, I’ve begun a portrait series of “Hemp and Marijuana activists.” The series will include such influential advocates as Jack Herer, Rev. Eddy Lepp, Marc and Jodie Emery, Richard Lee of Oaksterdam and Ed Rosenthal. I wanted to honor them for everything they’ve done to help the movement [and] I hope that it helps raise awareness too. Someone may love my art but have no idea who Richard Lee is or what he’s doing. If I can help educate people as well as produce a beautiful piece of art, I see it as win win.
Each one of my pieces means something special to me. I particularly like “Creation” though; I’m generally drawn toward Catholic imagery.
You were commissioned to create the official collectors edition poster for the ’09 edition of the Seattle Hempfest. How did that come about?
I was at the 08’ NORML conference in Berkeley. I was showing some of my work in the courtyard of the hotel when I was approached by some core Hempfest staff. They asked if I’d be interested in making something for them and I was more than happy to contribute. I’m not sure if you could call it the ‘09 collector’s edition poster though. Hempfest thought it, would be a good idea to not put a date on it so the image could be used over and over. We’re hoping to start offering posters of that design through our website as well as through Hempfest in the near future. Once we have posters in circulation, I think that opportunity will help further Chronic Art. As of now there hasn’t been much in the way of new business generated because of Hempfest though.
How long does it take to create one?
It takes between 30 and 70 hours for an 8”x10” like Snoop or Jimi Hendrix. For a piece like Hempfest, Creation or Sacred Heart it can take over 200 hours. The work is extremely tedious so usually that 30-70 hours actually equates to about a month and a half of my life… or more.
Favorite piece? Anything you’ve always wanted to do?
I’d say Creation is my favorite. The Jack Herer I’m working on might change that though. I’ve always wanted to do a virgin mother mosaic. See, there’s that catholic imagery again.
Who normally buys your pieces?
Expert cultivator DJ Short purchased an original, as well as some other private collectors. The limited edition prints I offer sell to everyday average pot smokers and art lovers.
Prior to this, you were involved in quite a number of other art forms including tattooing. Where did you get your start in art?
Comic books mostly. As a kid they were my inspiration. I would just sit and draw on my own. Art school also played a role. Then I became a tattoo artist. Tattooing really opened my eyes to different styles and techniques.
Where are you hoping to take this?
I would like to see Chronic Art regarded as THE art of the marijuana legalization movement. I like guys like Shepard Fairey and Banksy… The statements they make with their underground, sometimes-illegal art inspires me.
You can purchase Chronic Art at www.chronic-art.com. Also, be sure to check out www.myspace.com/chronicart