With Liam Wesley Goodman’s work, you can almost feel the sticky texture of resinous buds, catch the glimmer of light in swiss-cheese slabs of shatter and imagine the ooze of gooey concentrates.
Goodman has been making art his entire life and one look at his detailed, contemporary approach to capturing cannabis in its full essence tells you that his talent extends beyond just a casual approach to art. His Instagram account (@cannabis.creations) is full of jaw-dropping images and behind-the-scenes glimpses of what it takes to create such incredible, realistic drawings. It’s the distinguished precision and delicate attention to detail that make each piece special.
His work stands out in the sea of weed art that often includes predictable tropes such as giant fan leaves on tie-dye print, Technicolor psychedelic scenes and a plethora of joints, blunts and smoking characters. Goodman says his evolution into drawing cannabis began after visiting a vapor lounge in 2017.
“My art evolved into cannabis through times of emptiness and a lack of a future, no direction but a passion for creation,” he says.
Born and raised in Ontario, Canada, Goodman had been practicing realism for about a dozen years and had a passion for creating, but maintains he still felt empty at the time. At the lounge, an employee recognized him and pulled up an old art account that had some of his previous work which included experimental drawings unrelated to cannabis. Later, a manager approached him and asked if he’d be interested in displaying art at their location and the rest is history.
With more than a decade of experience as a realistic artist, Goodman dove into what he knows best: realism. “I went home and started searching for cannabis studied and drawn in realism only to find a severe lack in the space,” he says. “I spent weeks searching without finding a solid body of work with an artist attached. I was strongly pulled into the idea of filling the emptiness I felt was needed in the world of cannabis in realism. From that point, I told myself I was going to start a series of 420 different flower drawings to create a world of cannabis in realism.”
Goodman’s project has now evolved into a flower series, extracts, trichomes, an upcoming cannabis flower coloring book and many more projects still on the way.
The artist made the intentional choice to step away from predictable and commonplace art, such as portraits and pets or sunsets and landscapes. He finds fulfillment in the process of creating cannabis art and strives to create something bigger than himself by lending his incredible talent to the genre. Goodman says he’s inspired by the cannabis community and the industry members who grow beautiful flower and produce top-notch extracts that provide the basis for his work.
As a full-time artist, his dedication to perfecting his art is noteworthy. He works seven days a week and swears he genuinely loves every minute of it. Over the years, he’s spent more than 10,000 hours creating pencil drawings while jamming to music, learning from podcasts or creating movies in his head while listening to audiobooks—Harry Potter, among others.
He’s fortunate, he says, that he’s able to concentrate without distraction and focus his attention on mastering the microscopic elements of cannabis that bring his pieces to life. His goal is to show the side of cannabis that people may not immediately be drawn to, such as focusing on the different shades that fade in and out of the flower, the beautiful contrast of colors and the captivating details that make each plant its own unique work of art.
“I see the image through a filter in my mind, the flower or extract is already in a drawing form when I first see it scrolling through social media,” Goodman says.
“I see elements of a photo that I feel would translate well into a drawing. I see oranges that might look more captivating as yellows, or greens that might contrast better as blues. I find there’s ultimate power in creating a drawing as I’m able to add or remove and choose every element to create a final piece that I’m happy with.”
There are challenges that come with the sensitive content of his work, of course. Like many in the industry—even those that are considered auxiliary—Goodman has had to deal with constant censorship online with recurring instances of his work being removed or deleted from social media for “sale of illegal drugs.” He’s lost his Instagram account three times in the last four years which inspired him to create his own virtual gallery called Cannabis Creations.
In the future, Goodman has plans to release a cannabis coloring book and embark on fashion illustrations. A peek at his Instagram shows the beginnings of the latter with time-lapse videos showing raw photos and his process of creating cannabis clothing from leaves and buds for illustrations. He also plans to host a virtual show where he can invite guests and even create artwork together. At some point, he wants to include oil paintings to his repertoire and eventually incorporate other mediums he loves (sculpting, papier-mâché) to create new, realistic cannabis art.
For now, though, Goodman says he’s focused on evolving as an artist and will undoubtedly continue breaking barriers in the industry and skillfully shattering the idea of what weed art can look like. “I may not be the greatest cannabis artist today, but one day I will be, and nothing will stop me.”
This story was originally published in the print edition of Cannabis Now.