March 2016

ARTS 1125 -Marijuana

marijuana-reviewerI pulled “marijuana” from the lucky paint bucket of collage topics. Cannabis sativa has been documented as being used for its fibers ten thousand years ago in China. In the next few thousand years, it was used for some five thousand products. It has fibers that make for superior ropes, nets, and paper, and since at least 2,800 BC, it has been used as a medicine.

The Spanish brought hemp to the Americas in 1545, and the English introduced it in Jamestown in 1611, where it became a major crop. By 1890, it was also used in medicinal preparations, but its use was minor compared to opium and cocaine in medicines. Some think marijuana’s use as a recreational drug became prevalent in the 1920’s, in response to Prohibition. Recreational use was limited to mostly Jazz musicians and people in show business. Marijuana clubs popped up in major cities, but were not considered a problem, and marijuana was not considered a social threat. The campaign to stigmatize marijuana started in the 1930’s by what is now the U.S. Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 effectively banned its use in the U.S.

Marijuana is still demonized as a “gateway drug,” and its illegality in most states makes it a wonderful source of revenue for the prison system, and it drives illegal sales and trafficking. Many also believe that hemp oil cures cancer and other conditions of abnormal cell growth. I have a friend in another state who was left disabled by her aggressive cancer treatment. Because disability benefits were not enough to live on, she turned her basement in her old rental house (which was in need of many repairs) into the most beautiful and sophisticated marijuana farm. Growing and selling marijuana allowed her to take care of herself, and the small amount of marijuana she smoked helped her manage pain. She now believes that hemp oil could have cured her cancer without the permanent damage that surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy left her with. Her dream is to distill and offer hemp oil to anyone who wants it.

I believe its competition with cotton as a fiber and its un-patentable medicinal properties are why it is illegal. I grew up in Florida in the 1970s, and marijuana was good, cheap, and easy to find. It is not my drug of choice – generally I prefer wine. I wish, though, that it were legal everywhere, and that its medicinal uses were explored further. Anything that is abused is an issue, be it a legal drug, illegal drug, or even table sugar. It’s past time to legalize marijuana again and end the stigma. Grow hemp, weave superior cloth, and alleviate suffering.

me and 420 guy
The 420 Guy and me, Venice Beach, 4-20-2011. The occasion is my birthday.

ARTS 1125 – I Am For an Art

I am for an art adhered to the brick sidewalk with a randomly spit out piece of chewing gum.

??? Ludington, MI

I am for an art past its expiration date.

I am for an art bunched up in the back of the underwear drawer, folded with an old receipt from somewhere I forgot I had been.

I am for the art of pouring several small glasses of wine and pretending it isn’t too much.

I am for an art on the weird part of YouTube – I know it’s almost 3am, but after one more, I will go to bed. I mean it this time. Promise.

ARTS 1125 – Materials

Our Totem Project has us considering the personal symbolism of materials we use to create art. I hadn’t thought of materials themselves as metaphors before, just the sensory experience of materials. Joseph Beuy sees materials also as things that transcend matter, perhaps as physical and metaphysical. His concept of finding a solution between two poles reminds me of a quote that I remember, but can’t remember who said it. It is that the answer is contained in the question.

To me, depending on its form, fat is a fuel, a lubricant, a reduction. It is a carrier of other things. Felt is entropy to the point of entrapment. It is a normal process (such as shedding) bunched up on itself – it is time to shave the dog.

What non-traditional materials do I respond to aesthetically? Anything silky, for sure. Glitter. Is glitter traditional? Bottle caps can be interesting. Mirrors. I love little mirrors. I don’t know that I can connect them with my person history, besides always loving shiny things. I am very touch/texture oriented, and had sort of a renaissance of the tactile when I grew up, after being told not to touch things for so long. As an adult, I can touch things, dammit! I love artwork and museum exhibits I can touch. (Now I am a massage therapist – I touch for a living.) I do love metal as a medium. Between the elemental quality of it and its diversity, it is very attractive to me. Again, I can’t see how it relates to my history.

My totem will have a part to be touched. It relates to my grandfather and the rubber grapes in their coffee table centerpiece that I often tried to squeeze, but he always stopped me. We may now squeeze the grapes to our heart’s content! Squeeze, baby, squeeze!

ARTS 1125 – Darkness & Light Project

In the Darkness and Light project I represented myself symbolically as the anchor of the picture and core of the concentric circles. I used my camera to represent my passion and way of seeing. The dragon is my magical self and Chinese year. The Eiffel Tower represents my travels and masculine side. Kali at the top is the creator/destroyer/mother of Shiva. She is fierce and compassionate, as I am. She is also reminiscent of the sun in position and shape in the image. The eye then follows to the orchid. I grow a few orchids and they represent my feminine, more “Georgia O’Keefe” side. Interspersed in their appropriate directions are Serpent, Jaguar, Hummingbird, and Eagle/Condor from the Four Winds Society teachings Dr. Alberto Villoldo brought from the Peruvian Andes. They are my grounding, spirituality, my valuing of being in “right relation” with myself, my environment, and others.


Light and dark take turns and are generally balanced, as the yin/yang symbol is. Each symbol (except for me) exists in more than one concentric circle. Most of the images reverse light and dark as they lie in one circle or the next, except for Kali’s face and the orchids, which are more in the light/positive, independent of the rings, as they also refer to higher realms. My image is also represented with more light than dark. (Most of the dark there is required to hold things together! Maybe that’s a symbol, too.)

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