“Finally, smokers can be open and honest about their personal/medical usage of something that's been wrongfully vilified and propagandized for decades,” said Sara Dulkin, owner and curator of Chicago Truborn
Illinois recently became the 11th state to legalize marijuana with Bill HB 1438 which went into effect January 1, 2020. In addition to being able to toke, smoke, and get woke; non-violent offenders will have their records expunged of marijuana charges. This is important progress not only for dismantling stigmas against weed, but progress in rewriting the inequality of marijuana laws.
(If you want to know more I’d recommend checking out the documentary Grass is Greener on Netflix)
With more legalization every year, marijuana is becoming less and less taboo and more appreciated for its medicinal miracles. A long-time medical marijuana patient herself, Sara Dulkin of Chicago Truborn, was more than ready to celebrate legalization with the gallery’s first show of 2020, Weed the People. This show features 24 different artists all with a personal twist on their interpretation of marijuana and legalization. Additionally, all work is under $420 and comes with a custom painted vape cartridge by the artists.
(Hold Deg Hoy 82 by Glass Cuisine)
Rythm, a national cannabis brand, sponsored the event with a booth that had LOTS of free goodies and education. Opening night January 11th, saw nonstop crowds for the entire night. Needless to say, it was LIT.
I got to sit down and interview Sara all about the Weed the People show, legalization of marijuana, new artists, and upcoming events. Such as the not to be missed event, The COOL Party, February 8th, 2020 7pm – 12am in which Chicago Truborn curates the art for non-profit StreetWise’s annual benefit.
GXM: So, before I talk about the group show, the first question I have is, what are your thoughts about legalization of marijuana in Chicago?
SD: I am a very vocal proponent of legalization. Of course, I've been a medical patient myself for a few years. And I am all about legalizing pretty much everything across the board. I strongly believe that it is up to Americans to choose what the best option is for themselves on every issue. So absolutely legalize it and you let people make their own decisions.
We don’t need anyone to guide us in our choices. There's a big culture surrounding and supporting alcohol. It's very common to attend happy hour at the end of the day. You know, it's very accepted if you've had a long day and need a stress reliever, to go home and have a drink or two. Or to drink if celebrating. It's very hypocritical that marijuana has been so stigmatized in the way that it has when alcohol is so praised and accepted. So the goal of this show is to try to change that perception.
GXM: Definitely, they're so opposite with how one is so heavily advertised when it basically is a toxin. So then how did the show come together: the concept, the partnership with Rythm?
SD: Every year I try to have two or three group shows staggered in between the solo shows. It’s a nice opportunity to get to work with 20 or so artists at a time and get to show everyone a little love. Last year when I was planning out my 2020, I was aware of the vote that was taking place in Chicago. I really wanted to time the show with full legalization efforts and have it be really topical.
(When the Edibles Kick In by Mr. Switch)
As for the partnership, Rythm is a national cannabis brand who I buy from through my dispensary. I saw they formed a partnership with Revise, clearly they're a friend to the artists. So, I reached out, and Rythm could not have been nicer! They thanked me profusely and were very excited to partner with us; Meanwhile, I’m going, oh no the pleasure is all mine.
Beyond donating the "Palm" vape batteries for all the artists to paint, they also set up a booth here during the opening; passing out T-shirts and sweatshirts and all kinds of goodies. I'm thrilled with the partnership and hoping we can continue not just for this show but in the foreseeable future.
GXM: Did you have insight into what each artist’s interpretation would be?
SD: I’m very familiar with all the artists and basically know in a roundabout way, what to generally expect from each one. Just stylistically, every artist has a pretty specific style. But the results are always a pleasant surprise! For example, with Paid, I knew he was going to give us some really great hand lettering and signage type of work.
(Sour Diesel by Paid MSD)
The same with Stuk, I knew he was going to pull out something amazing with lettering and typography.
(Day N Nite by Stuk)
I was hoping for something like a play on Kozmo’s characters while integrating the cannabis leaf. Which she did brilliantly.
(Munchies!!!!! by KOZMO)
JB Snyder, he's got a very specific abstract tone to his work. So, him painting a green themed piece absolutely hit the mark for me.
(A Lifelong Love Affair by JB Snyder)
There’s a really great mix of typography and abstract and character work throughout the show and it's a really nice blend.
GXM: Did you expect that? [points to hand sculpture by Zeye One]
(Cheeba Cheeba Y'all, I'm a Libra Y'all by Zeye One)
SD: She had tried the sculpture one time for the CT Anniversary Show and it blew everybody away. I didn't know if she was going to attempt that again.
And the moss, the lights, and the cloud of smoke coming off of the joint… it's really a one of a kind gorgeous piece I’m so proud to display work like that here.
GXM: Were there any new artists featured in the show?
SD: I did get to work with a lot of new artists for the show, which is the great part about social media and Instagram you can learn about new people or I'd had my eye on certain artists but was waiting for this specific show to approach them. It was my first time working with:
Cabin 7 Originals, she's based out of Las Vegas, and she's got a huge following - she's strictly a digital artist. And this was her first time ever showing work in a gallery. Some really strong feminine Girl Power vibes, I just love her work.
(Clockwise top left: Outside by Blake Jones, Blake's vape design, Hey Arnold by Heady Paints, Earache my Ear by dred ske)
GXM: How do you think the show came together overall?
SD: I think it all came together perfectly, wall to wall. I love the layout, the placement, the framed pieces together with the display of the vapes. It all fell into place very naturally.
GXM: Are you have are you hoping to do more like weed related events in the future?
SD: I certainly would never turn it down. We are talking with Rythm about having a private ticketed dinner and as laws change, hopefully, we'll be able to have more events around celebrating and partaking in public or private spaces.
SD: StreetWise is a wonderful organization. Basically, their motto is a hand up, not a hand. I'm sure you've seen the magazines and the people passing them out on the streets in Chicago to empower people facing homelessness or at risk of homelessness by providing resources and employment opportunities so individuals can work towards self-sufficiency. They do take donations of hats and gloves and scarves, but they also are putting people to work.
For our contribution of the event, they asked us to curate the arts portion they have every year. We'll have 20 artists showing a piece for sale, with proceeds going to StreetWise - It’s a great way to add to your collection and contribute to their cause.
SD: Our next show opens February 22. We're going to be announcing it soon. It’s called Shelf-Destruction by Denial, it’s a solo show, the first of the year here! He’s coming in from Windsor, Canada, it's going to be like a punk rock post-consumerism take on society and branding. It's going to be unlike anything you have ever seen here; I can promise that.
(Skate or High by Ava Grey)
(Ganja Mandala by Elisa Rose Mountain)
GXM: And then in the back here, you're still getting a lot of new stuff?
SD: Always, we have our second show room and I’m just constantly rotating pieces out. So, cash and carry back here. Something sells, the collector can take it home right away.
GXM: I love the birds they really stuck out to me.
SD: Yeah, that's Czr Prz - and yeah he's doing amazing and innovative things with the acrylic cutouts these days. They’re so unique and detailed.
(Lechuga del Diablo by Czr Prz)
GXM: I also really like the pieces from Jenny ....?
(Fo Shizzle by Jenny Hiser)
SD: Jenny Hiser! It was also my first time working with her as well. There are so many details her process is really amazing. She builds the background image in Photoshop, so that’s original right from the start. She screen-prints at herself and the color is all hand painted; it's all hands on and custom. She also just signed up to be in The COOL Party!