Art and cannabis go hand-in-hand. Mankind has turned to this wonder plant to help boost creativity for centuries and it’s been linked to some of history’s biggest and most beloved musicians, filmmakers, visual artists and other creatives from many different eras. So, it makes sense that an event that combines making art and smoking cannabis would be such a hit.
Artist Heidi Keyes is the woman behind Denver-based company Puff, Pass & Paint. She opened her business at the beginning of 2014 after a light-hearted comment from one of her friends who suggested that she start her own operation similar to Canvas and Cocktails events.
“I thought it was a crazy idea!” she says. “I definitely talked to a lawyer first.”
After squaring away the legal aspects of the business, Keyes was able to move forward with her operation. She began booking classes by referral at first. Friends and friends of friends were her intial patrons, but as news spread by word of mouth, things began to take off and classes begin to fill up.
Now, three years later her business has taken off and is now touring around the United States, bringing the experience to people in Portland, Oakland, San Francisco, Las Vegas and Washington, D.C. — for starters.
When I ventured into the heart of Oakland for a sold out Puff, Pass & Paint event, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but as I got closer to the door I could smell the distinct aroma of cannabis and knew I was going to have a good time. Inside, there were tables set up with people chilling, smoking and chatting with one another. A table with two women, both strangers, waved and motioned me over to sit with them and began talking to me like we were old friends.
Every time someone walked into the room, people would say hello and start small talk that was surprisingly not awkward. It was, without a doubt, the happiest and most friendly room of strangers I had ever walked into. Before class even began, people were exchanging papers, sharing edibles and offering lighters for those in need at this BYOB (bring your own bud) occasion. And, in case someone somehow forgot to bring the most important ingredient of all to the event, there were vape pens from Alchemy that were provided for class use.
“Sharing is caring!” someone shouted and the class erupted in laughter.
Our hosts for the evening, Brian and Tyler (who is also an ordained minister) were enthusiastic, kind and patient as they taught everyone how to draw and then paint a decorative sugar skull. The step-by-step class was super laid-back and, at a two full hours long, gave everyone more than enough time to talk, paint, puff and chill.
At my table the conversation flowed from topic to topic from politics and traveling to work and personal life but everyone got involved when the idea of stigma against people who smoke cannabis came up.
“All I know is that I have never been to a 420 event where there’s been any kind of issue — no matter how many people are there. Smokers are happy people who are too interested in feeling good to fight about anything,” one young woman shared.
Everyone agreed and had the anecdotes to prove it.
“It’s just a misconception. People who really have no idea about the reality of smoking cannabis have a hard time understanding that there’s nothing wrong with smoking responsibly,” another woman — a mother of toddlers who brought her own smock — said as she immaculately decorated her painting.
At the end of the event, the class posed for a group photo and proudly displayed their creations, reddened eyes and happy smiles before heading back out into the brisk night armed with their paintings and eagerly making plans to attend the next Puff, Pass & Paint event.
TELL US, does cannabis inspire you to create art?