How do you roll a joint with no rolling papers? Massachusetts-based artist Melanie Bernier's unorthodox answer comes in the form of wool, vinyl fabric, wood, and thread to create Joints, a series of 4:20-friendly sculptural recreations of weed nuggets and as the name would suggest, tightly-rolled spliffs.
These realistic sculptures are more than just a pothead's venture into self-expression or slick attempts to make DIY weed holders—no marijuana was actually used in the works. Instead, Joints is motivated by political undertones, created in the aftermath of Colorado and Oregon's legalization of weed in 2012. The political legislation caught the interest of the artist, who was enmeshed in a unique living situation as the laws were passed.
"I lived with a few pot dealers at the time, so the future of marijuana naturally grabbed my attention," Bernier tells Creators. "Anticipating a shift from illegal to legal, underground to commercial, really intrigued me, especially since weed culture is so goofy. Mixing the classic stoner with medical and corporate imagery; there's some rich humor there."
Yet accompanying this lightheartedness was a sense of genuine worry for the future of weed culture. "The lift on prohibition was positive for many reasons, but at the time, a small part of me felt sad that weed culture would be taken above ground and exposed to corporate interests and American mass marketing," the artist adds. "If joints were sold in bodegas like cigarettes, what would they look like, and how would they be marketed to win over the creative potheads in my life?"
Rather than wait for this future to manifest, Bernier set out to envision it herself, through a set of sculptural works to accompany her nugs and joints. The result was Colors, a fictive brand of government approved, cigarette-style spliff packs. Adopting a color scheme similar to American Spirits, each pack comes filled with 20 pre-rolled spliffs in varying weed-to-tobacco ratios, already prepared to offer the consumer a myriad of choices akin to Big Tobacco's options of lights, menthols, unfiltered, and so on.
Although spliff packs aren't being sold at CVS or your local deli yet, Bernier's sculptures possess a strong foresight on the future landscape of corporate weed culture that is soon to come.
Check out Joints and more of Melanie Bernier's artworks on her website.