For many artists, inspiration is found in the simple things, such as the night sky or the joys of life at home. Local painter and digital artist Mae Carson is revered for her intricately designed, nuanced style and her bold use of color and textures. She finds inspiration in many places, including the unique flavor profiles and varied strains of cannabis. CULTURE caught up with Carson to talk about life, art and how all these inspirations intersect with cannabis.
What led you to start making art?
I’ve been making art as long as I can remember. I got my first easel when I was two years old. It was never a career path, just a hobby. When sports didn’t play in my favor, art became my main focus. Attending college for fashion design somehow led me to an apprenticeship in the tattoo industry. After seven years of tattooing other people’s flash and Pinterest ideas, I realized that wasn’t the job for me. Becoming a work-from-home mom made it easy to take time and really focus on finding my niche and what I wanted to pursue. When I posted my first canvas on Instagram it was such a rush. I had an overwhelming amount of positive feedback and offers to purchase. I wasn’t trying to sell my work; it sold itself.
Who are some of your biggest influences?
Artist-wise Glenn Arthur, Tim Shumate and Vinie are some of my biggest inspirations. I have Glenn’s work tattooed on my arm, along with my other biggest inspiration, Audrey Hepburn.
What projects do you have in the works right now?
Currently I am working on a galaxy-inspired background series. Each piece combines gemstones, feathers and all things mystical. My most recent dream catcher piece is definitely something special with all of the colors and pop of sparkle. Overall though, my favorite is still my “Grizzly Glue” piece from 2016. Her colorful background with the grey scale plant came together so well.
I am in the process of lining up a few festivals, both local and national, to paint live and sell my work at this summer. As of now, it’s lots of hours and working to get more of my creations out there.
“Regulating mother nature is wrong, period. I appreciate the access, but feel that total decriminalization would be a better route rather than industrialization for corporate profit.”
How would you describe your style?
I am not really sure if I fit into a certain art style. The best term I could use would be eclectic. I have been artistically influenced by so many people, cultures, landscapes and eras [that] I couldn’t put myself or my art into just one box. Most of the time I have some pop art feels, but then my love for realism shows up from time to time. I love modern and abstract but also enjoy traditional touches. I am ever changing and so is my work. It could be something completely different tomorrow. I am a mixed medium artist. I mainly use acrylic, but I mix spray paint and watercolors for my backgrounds too. I use digital format as well creating logos and cannabis-infused designs.
Have you ever worked cannabis into your art as a theme? If so, how?
Absolutely! Without cannabis in my art, I’d be left with just backgrounds. My world revolves around cannabis and my art reflects that. I get to go into amazing gardens and spend time looking over “the plant to paint.” I’ll study her calyx shape, the serration on each leaf and the intricate color combination they can throw. Each strain is so unique in its own way. I try to capture more than a plant. I bring the essence and vibe I receive in our entire encounter. From first glance to last toke, each canvas comes with its own experience.
What is your favorite strain or cannabis product?
My all-time favorite strain is Romulan. My husband has a rare cut that smells like cheesy feet, and she makes everything easier. I have severe anxiety and need to medicate daily to perform simple tasks like grocery shopping or going to the post office. Romulan allows me to clear my head and relax all of my thoughts, helping me with my productivity.
How do you feel about legalization so far? Could anything be done better, or differently?
Regulating mother nature is wrong, period. I appreciate the access, but feel that total decriminalization would be a better route rather than industrialization for corporate profit.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you for the opportunity to talk with you about my work. I can only hope that my art can be a positive influence on the negative vibe that cannabis has been given in the past. I want to open minds and bring this beautiful plant into the art world, my way.