Of all the social media platforms we waste our time on, Instagram seems to be the most ‘chill’. In my mind it’s proof that humans are better at online engagement with photographs than with words. The message of a photograph or an illustration doesn’t get lost as easily in digital translation, plus the platform lacks the crazy relatives you’ll find on Facebook and the unavoidable, mindless retweeting of bullshit on Twitter.
Sure, it’s a giant timesuck, a lot of projection, and some posturing—but it’s also got this, “you like my photo, I’ll like yours” vibe to it that keeps people coming back again and again for the dopamine spike. My Instagram feed is a place I like to go when I get sick of reading depressing headlines and my eyes crave positive visual stimulation, though I have admittedly spent far too much time painstakingly curating it to my tastes. Right now, I’m all about house plants, traditional tattoo artists, and dope art. And I don’t mean “dope” in the modern sense of the word.
Lately, I’ve been appreciating the work of a handful of digital artists who’ve carved out a niche that appeals to the art geek and the psychedelic enthusiast in me. Over the last few years, better science and increased awareness about the effects of certain substances, especially cannabis, have allowed us to form more reasonable opinions of them. But there’s something about seeing drugs depicted in modern art and at the fingertips of the entire world that feels liberating, especially in the context of art as a reflection of life and society at a given time. Seeing certain substances and those who use them being depicted as normal is even more thrilling when the type of imagery used in this art reflects a time period when our perception of them was far, far less informed (even if Instagram still likes to shadowban cannabis-related businesses and influenzas).
Anyway, without further ado, here’s some shit I like, by some artists I like.
Editor, Inside the Jar
Hippie. Tripper. Grappler. Author. Anarchist
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Whatever. We. Fucking. Want.
It’s expensive. It’s impractical. It makes everything photographed on it look like it took place in the 1970s. So why bother with film?
A few years ago I planned a solo road trip to Haida Gwaii. I drove up in my admittedly unequipped Toyota Echo (thankfully the weather cooperated on my 16-hour drive) and spent the days around my spring birthday staying with a friend in the village of Skidegate.
I took four cameras: two digital SLRs, an instant camera, and a Canon AE-1, circa 1976. It had been my dad’s, and was the first camera I’d ever used. I’d shot hundreds of rolls of black-and-white film with it in high school but for several years it had joined the other vintage cameras I’d collected on a shelf in my bedroom. I figured a trip which I intended to photograph heavily required a little bit of variety, so I dusted it off and shelled out $50 for five rolls of Fujicolor Pro 400H 35mm film for the first time since I’d studied photography in college.
“The more important thing is, we wanted to give people access to the psilocybin experience—and to confirm, or not—that all these things that had happened to us were really happening to us; that it really did seem to open up the doorways to some very strange places. We were looking for affirmation or confirmation of our own experiences.”