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Artist Interview: Cannabis Amnesty x Jill Stanton

In Canada, an estimated 500,000 Canadians currently have a criminal record for cannabis possession. Racialized Canadians are disproportionately arrested for simple cannabis possession. In celebration of 420, Cannabis Amnesty has partnered with a local artist to create a limited-edition t-shirt, with all proceeds from the sale of the shirt going back to their cause. After all, we wouldn’t be here today without the support of smokers, tokers, and potheads who paved the way. Get your t-shirt or poster in support of Cannabis Amnesty today. Get to know artist, Jill Stanton! Learn about her design for Cannabis Amnesty and what has her excited about this collab:

Jill Stanton is an artist and muralist living in Edmonton, Alberta. She has extensive experience painting large scale murals, for both private and public/municipal clients, interior and exterior, across North America. Over the past eight years, Jill has produced over 70 murals of varying complexity and size. She has painted walls for several mural festivals, including the Vancouver Mural Festival, Winnipeg’s Wall to Wall, Tulsa’s Habit Festival, Dallas’ Wild West Mural Fest, Victoria’s Concrete Canvas Project, and the Beltline Urban Mural Project (BUMP) in Calgary. Her work combines abstract elements with representative, using still life objects to act as symbols in order to weave open-ended narratives.

How would you describe your artistic/creative style? I come from a background of making comics and graphic novels. so I am first and foremost interested in narrative. I've moved away from character-focused work these days, and now I find myself gravitating towards still life arrangements, but with a narrative take. Objects are fun to play with—some have universal meanings or cultural symbolisms (for instance, clocks, apples, or roses), and some objects may not have any specific meaning, but could potentially have some very personal meaning to someone viewing the work. Using objects with inherent symbolism alongside ones that have more hidden meanings, I'm able to craft environments that can be interpreted in many different ways. This is especially helpful to me in my murals—with public art, it's important to make something taking into account the several types of audiences and passers-by that will see the work. I like to make sure the mural has something for everyone to find meaning in. Tell us about the design/artwork you created for this 4/20 collaboration. What inspired you to take it in the direction you did? For the Cannabis Amnesty collaboration, I've made an image of a loopy, indescript plant of some kind, with plant and smoke "tendrils" snaking around. The poster image is more dramatic, built up of 'pixel dust' on Photoshop, creating a hazy feel. The t shirt design is a more graphic and punchy take on the same image. I wanted to create something that gave a bit of a "wink" to cannabis instead of being very obvious, but still keeping with the spirit of the trippy 420 poster of yore—something fun to stare at for a while.

What about this collaboration has you excited? For this collaboration, I'm most excited about the partnership and proceeds for the project going to Cannabis Amnesty. Legalization in North America has been a long time coming, but we still have so much crucial work to do in assisting folks (coming disproportionately from already marginalized communities) who are wrongly criminalized for cannabis related charges. I'm grateful for the opportunity to support this important work.

As an artist, where do you draw inspiration from? As a muralist, first and foremost, my work is often inspired by the communities and places where I paint my murals. I love to research and delve into the history, surroundings and personality of a community or city, before planning a mural that will be meaningful to the folks who will see it every day. Outside of murals, I take inspiration from everywhere—my daily morning routine includes a 10 to 15 km walk through Edmonton's river valley and surrounding neighbourhoods, where I take visual notes of everything I see—plants, people, landscapes, the river, interesting houses or buildings, the weather. All of this is eventually synthesized into my work, in some form. ------------------------- You can buy Jill Stanton’s limited edition Cannabis Amnesty merch online through Local Shops:

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