Twenty-seven-year-old Glasgow Caledonian University student Veronika Vajdovà has been painting and creating art her entire life. However, it wasn’t until she began submitting pieces to the Natural Cannabis Company’s annual High Art competition, a cannabis themed visual art contest, that her work began attracting international attention. Her contribution to the 2018 installment of the competition, Metamorphosis, was among the most interesting and beautiful pieces submitted, and the piece garnered a great deal of praise from her peers.
Recently, CULTURE had the opportunity to catch up with Vajdovà and hear about her art, her inspirations and the message she is trying to get across with Metamorphosis.
To start off, can you give us a little background on yourself and how you became interested in painting and graphic art?
Well, I’m originally from Slovakia, and I’ve always been interested in art, but in my family it wasn’t always something I was encouraged to pursue. So I always kept trying to find something else I was interested in, because everyone was telling me that art was just something you do as a hobby, and I ended up studying medicine. However, after studying for a few years I realized I was spending more and more time on art and that it was something that interested me a lot. So, I decided to quit medicine, found a 3D Animation and Visualization course in the U.K., and so that’s where I am and that’s what I’m studying currently.
Recently, your piece Metamorphosis was picked as a finalist for the High Art competition. Can you tell me a bit about the painting and what inspired it?
The topic this year was “freedom,” and I come from a country where marijuana is illegal, and in the U.K. it’s the same situation. So, with Metamorphosis I wanted to say with it was that there are way too many things that I feel should change and that nobody seems to be dealing with the situation. Instead, everybody is connecting the idea of change to something bad. In my country, you can hear people talking about how legalization, even for medical marijuana, would just lead to more people taking other drugs, and no one realizes that we already have other legal drugs. If you just think about alcohol and how much trouble it causes in families, and it is something legal. So, what I was trying to say with that piece, is that change doesn’t have to be something negative; change can be beautiful, and it can lead to something positive.
“You know, when people talk about their experiences with marijuana and creativity, that’s inspiring to me.”
What has been your experience submitting to High Art so far?
Well, it’s been a few years since the contest started, and I think I submitted my art to the first or second year of the competition. Back then, it was actually the first time I had the courage to submit my art to a competition, and I think I became a finalist that year. I was shocked that I made it that far, and it’s one of the things that pushed me to make the change from medicine to art full-time.
You mentioned that in Slovakia and the U.K. cannabis laws are still pretty restrictive. Do you see attitudes starting to change over there especially with successful legalization efforts in Canada and the U.S.?
Well, people do talk about it, especially if something happens in bigger countries like the U.S., Canada or Mexico. You can see that some people who just a few years ago wouldn’t have thought about it or have an opinion that would be completely negative are no longer thinking in negative terms about it. I think what’s helping is people going on YouTube or the news and talking about their own experiences with medical marijuana. Especially when people talk about their experiences with chronic pain or illness, it makes people think about it more.
Is cannabis something that inspires some of your work?
You know, when people talk about their experiences with marijuana and creativity, that’s inspiring to me. Every year I check to find out when the High Art competition is happening, because I always love their topics and find them to be very inspiring. It’s usually just one month that people can submit their work, and I just love browsing through other people’s art and checking it all out. There’s just something about the High Art community that’s so nice and relaxed that it inspires me too.