Canadian hashish firms are turning to the humanities to attach with customers

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“It’s about bringing our love for cannabis and sharing our cannabis world in a new way and in a new light.”

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Sam Riches Laura Garcia Serventi is an illustrator who produces work for Pure Sunfarms.  /. Laura Garcia Serventi is an illustrator who produces work for Pure Sunfarms. /. Photo by Laura Garcia Serventi Instagram

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It took requests for information to the Pentagon and the FBI to uncover Steve Jobs’ thoughts on cannabis.

“I would best describe the effects of marijuana and hashish if it makes me relaxed and creative,” Jobs told the Department of Defense during a security clearance interview in the 1980s.

For other creatives, however, their relationship with cannabis is more direct. Take, for example, the Brazilian artist Fernando de La Rocque, who used stencils and cannabis smoke to create images. “I use an ‘ink’ that is being thrown in the air to create a work of art,” he told Newsivity in 2014.

Widely regarded as one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, Pablo Picasso is considered a cannabis user. Shakespeare too.

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In other words, art and cannabis have been linked for a long time. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship that legal firms turn to when looking for new ways to connect with consumers.

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“I don’t really see any difference between the two worlds,” says Tosh Jeffrey, a Toronto-based painter whose work focuses on urban and urban culture. “Many cannabis users are your everyday doctors, lawyers, and nurses. I think it would be all of the people you would suspect using art and cannabis. “

Jeffrey is one of 15 artists whose work has been shown at Axes Smoke Cannabis, a retail store in Toronto’s Queen West neighborhood. He lives nearby and has been showing his pictures in the shop since last autumn.

“They give me a platform that I really appreciate,” he says. With art exhibitions disrupted by the pandemic, the retail store is “almost like a gallery or studio outside of my studio,” he explains.

Toronto-based artist Tosh Jeffrey is one of 15 artists whose work has been shown at Axes Smoke Cannabis, a retail store in Toronto's Queen West neighborhood.  /. Toronto-based artist Tosh Jeffrey is one of 15 artists whose work has been shown at Axes Smoke Cannabis, a retail store in Toronto’s Queen West neighborhood. /. Photo by Tosh Jeffrey

When Axes opened its doors last June, shop manager Jessica Zepeda knew they were entering a vibrant neighborhood that was already welcoming a number of cannabis retail stores.

With its unadorned walls, Zepeda had an idea.

“I thought, why not let people influence the inside of our business since we are influencing the city and Queen Street with another cannabis business?” she tells The GrowthOp.

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The result was the art collective Axes, whose shop dedicated the interior wall space to paintings, photographs and works by medium-sized artists by local artists. There are no prerequisites to be featured and the artists range from emerging to established.

For some graduates from the Ontario College of Art and Design, the store provided a place to display their work, even as the pandemic closed traditional opportunities.

“Many of them didn’t get a shop window this year. It was really cool to see them come into the store, put on masks and take pictures of their art on the wall and even have such a small display case, ”says Zepeda.

It’s also good for business, she says, and helps differentiate it from others on the block.

It’s not uncommon for people to stop by and not buy weed, but rather look at what’s on display. Zepeda says that’s fine with the Axes staff.

“If people are here not buying weed, but it looks like we’re busier, it works in a marketing way too,” she says. “People see and say, ‘Oh, let’s go to the one who looks busy,’ even though people are just staring at the art. But whatever works. “

The landing page illustration for Pure Sunfarms by artist Laura Garcia Serventi.  /. The landing page illustration for Pure Sunfarms by artist Laura Garcia Serventi. /. Photo by Pure Sunfarms

When consumers visit the landing page of Pure Sunfarms, a licensed manufacturer in BC, they are greeted with an illustration of a greenhouse against mountains and a forested landscape, an ode to the company’s Fraser Valley location.

The illustration is by Laura Garcia Serventi, a Brooklyn-based artist who helped shape the company’s aesthetic.

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According to Mandesh Dosanjh, CEO of Pure Sunfarms, quite a few people have contacted the company to see if prints are available. “She was really able to connect with us and bring our story to life,” he says of Serventi’s work.

In addition to illustrations for the company’s product line, she has also created Christmas cards and letters for Pure Sunfarms.

“The reaction from customers, the community and our budget tenders in the stores has been incredible,” says Dosanjh. “People love to see the artwork. So that told us, “Hey, we’ve done something great, it’s really resonating.”

The company is now launching the Pure Sunfarms Marketplace, where consumers can buy prints from Serventis factories in addition to other branded goods, clothing and accessories.

The collection also includes work by BC-based soap maker Nectrous Botanicals, a Palo Santo collaboration with Vancouver’s Woodlot, and handcrafted porcelain trays by artist Nathalee Paolinelli.

A porcelain tray by the ceramist Nathalee Paolinelli.  /. A porcelain tray by the ceramist Nathalee Paolinelli. /. Photo by Pure Sunfarms

Dosanjh said the collection was a natural addition to the company and the employees reflect “our values ​​of community and helping small businesses in Canada”.

“It’s about bringing our love for cannabis and sharing our cannabis world in a new way and in a new light,” he says.

“In an environment where you can’t market and advertise and not necessarily tell your story in the typical or traditional sense, this is an additional way for us to connect customers with our brand and learn who we are at Pure Sunfarms are.”

For Vancouver-based ceramist Paolinelli, it’s no surprise that the cannabis industry offers artists the opportunity to share their work.

“I want people to know that I put my heart into what I do to bring it to life,” she tells The GrowthOp. “I firmly believe in cannabis and its healing properties. One only has to read a little about cannabis to know that it is amazing. “

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