Cannabis has long inspired countless films, music, paintings and other forms of art that all center around an idea of cannabis culture, and Semaj Glover is one such artist inspired by weed. Glover not only features cannabis in her art but also attempts to remove the negative stigma around weed, encouraging a more positive attitude.
Glover grew up in Oregon but moved to Albuquerque in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic in August 2021. While she was still an artist prior to the start of the pandemic, the free time allowed her to sink deeper into her art than ever before. Semaj was raised in an environment of artists, something that has encouraged her to pursue art.
“I’ve been an esthetician for 12 years, (a) massage therapist for nine years … It wasn’t until the shutdown that I actually got to just dive in and do nothing but art. And now I can’t go back,” Glover said.
Glover has sold some of her art to dispensaries located in Oregon. Ashley Zamani, general manager of Oregon-based dispensary Satchel, met Glover through the club scene in Portland, and they began supporting each other’s art. Zamani was able to feature Glover’s work at Satchel.
“I got a promotion at my personal job and I worked really hard to be able to integrate the community into my job … I have been hosting many different visual artists on the walls (of the dispensary). I’ve been hosting different kinds of mixed media artists such as Semaj’s resin trays,” Zamani said.
Cannabis has always played a key role in Glover’s art. For Glover, the art she makes more simply just revolves around what she loves.
“When going into art, I went straight into things that I love and I’m obsessed with and I think you can see that pretty clearly in my art,” Glover said. “It’s weed, coffee, nature.”
Beyond herself, Glover sees cannabis as something that goes hand-in-hand with art. With New Mexico’s legalization laws in place, Glover hopes that spaces will be created for people to engage with both weed and art, like “puff and paints” in states like Colorado.
“I feel like it all goes together … I’m really excited that we’re moving towards legalization and I’m hoping that also leads more towards having spaces that you can go and smoke,” Glover said.
Zamani said the legalization of cannabis in Portland “opened up a space” for more people to become more involved not only with cannabis but with each other. She also added that the legalization gives artists more avenues to showcase their work.
“I am passionate about everyone’s voices being heard and art is one form of expression and (legalization) really allows people to have more access to different demographics who (wouldn’t usually) be able to see their art on display, at different types of venues and events,” Zamani said.
Glover smokes while she creates not only to get the “creative juices flowing” but also, and more importantly, as a way to relax and clear her mind.
“I definitely feel like (smoking) contributes to the ideas … The way the world’s set up, we’re constantly like, ‘What am I doing next? What do I have to do? What bill do I have to pay?’ And, so, smoking helps let go of all that so I can just be free on creating,” Glover said.
With her artwork, Glover wants to provide others with a feeling of love and positivity, a mindset that she retains while creating and that is amplified through cannabis.
“When creating, I just try to be in a positive mindset and I think, because I use (weed) as a therapy for me, my goal, really, for anybody else to be able to look at my art and just forget about the world and just live in your own world,” Glover said.
Some of Glover’s work is currently on display at Gobble This, a Salvadorian restaurant located in Old Town. Glover hopes she can get her work into dispensaries and that everyone can just have a good time now that recreational stores have opened up.
“I am definitely hoping to get into some dispensaries here locally so, hopefully, one day people can see my art there,” Glover said.
John Scott is the managing editor at the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @JScott050901