A new installation from artist Ron English and High Times magazine examines cannabis culture through a new pop-up in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. The storefront is offering vistors the chance to purchase a piece of English's Pop-influenced art, as well as original clothing from High Times, brought about by the publication's merchandise creative director, Brian Wood. The clothing collection includes outerwear, long-sleeve and short-sleeve shirtrs, and hats—often covered with the collaboration's one-of-kind patches.
The project is titled POPaganja, a riff off of English’s original artworks, POPaganda. In this new iteration, English works with marijuana’s imagery and associations to humorously lampoon recognizable brands and logos. What’s more, the collaboration is a subtle ode to the New York City bodega.
Much of the inspiration for POPaganja stems from the artist’s first visit to a bodega that was actually a front for selling marijuana. “When I first moved to New York City, I got an apartment in a basement on 3rd [Street] and [Avenue] D in the East Village. Next door there was a bodega. After a hard day’s work, I decided to treat myself to an ice cream so I ventured into the store for the first time and asked the two guys behind the counter for a pint of Häagen-Dazs. They looked at me like I was asking for a box of moon rocks. I tried to assess the situation, concluding that […] they probably didn’t sell expensive ice cream.”
He continues, “I scanned the store to see what they might actually have, and all I saw was cans of beans with a quarter inch of dust on the tops and boxed goods so old the labels had almost completely faded away. The guys were still eying me with suspicion and my poor brain was finally catching up to what this store was really selling. As I acclimated to the subculture that was the 1980s East Village, I came to know these bodegas for what they really were. I created the Popaganda Bodega as both an homage to the pioneering bodegas of my youth and the promise of a post prohibition tomorrow.”
Check out photos of the POPaganja pop-up and its offerings below:
Visit the POPaganja Bodega in New York City at 147 Orchard Street, open until November 8th. Find more from the collection, High X English & POPaganja installation, here. To purchase items from the High Times clothing line visit here.