Even though weed hasn't yet been legalized in Florida, the Real Fine Arts Gallery isn't shying away from selling the leafy greens in plain sight. The catch? These bell jars of bud are fake, painstakingly created from paper and resin by New York-based, German-Korean artist Andrei Koschmieder.
While you definitely can't smoke his product, the process behind his work is enough to leave the mind reeling. "I scanned real weed and printed it out on thin paper on a regular inkjet printer. Then I roll and crumble the paper and glue it back together to make buds," he tells The Creators Project. That's right, he 2D prints paper, crumples it up, adds a bit of resin, sticks it in a jar, and bam! Hyperrealistic nug sculptures. His technique affords him the capacity to explore a world in which everything we want can be delivered at the click of a button, without hassling with the technology itself.
Passersby have a wide range of reactions to seeing a booth seemingly filled with jars of pot. "Some don't even question it and think it's real," he says. "Others are disappointed when they hear it's fake, and some don't know what that plant is. But it's all paper."
While Koschmieder dabbles in 3D printing, he doesn't feel that was the right medium for this project. Instead he emulates a technique he used to use to create fake shrimp when his studio was in Chinatown. "Everybody knows shrimp," he jokes. So what sparked his creative fixation on ganja? "I saw a VICE video about weed in Colorado, and how they made $60 million in taxes. And now there is this shift in value, from drug to a cancer cure. I wanted to do a similar thing with bringing weed to an art fair."
Aside from his shrimp sculptures, Koschmieder also found inspiration in a 2008 trip to North Korea. "[North Koreans] have different flowers for their leaders during parades. Masses of people wave fake flowers. They bloom forever, and everybody gets that."
See more of Andrei Koschmieder's work on Artsy.