High Art: Inside the Dab Nation Gallery
Art has always been central to the Dab Nation vision (as anyone who wears one of our hoodies can attest). It’s easy for people to casually define us as a smoke shop, but when you walk into Dab Nation, you’ll quickly notice that it has quite a bit in common with a modern art gallery. And this isn’t even taking into account all of the one-of-a-kind heady glass rigs and pendants on display. Our walls are lined with prints and original pieces for sale to anyone considering patronage of the arts. We think you’ll find that what our gallery offers stretches the limitations that stereotypes have placed on stoner art. Sure, you’ll find plenty of tributes to those early irreverent, psychedelic pieces, but there are also plenty that see no vista of potential other than what their creators’ visions allow. Today, we’re going to take a look at some of our favorite artists who have their work on display at our Dab Nation shops.
Blotter Art and Beyond with Vincent Gordon
Perhaps most recognized for his outstanding work with blotter art, Vincent Gordon has been immersed in Chicago’s counter cultural art and literature scene as well as the periphery communities since the ‘90s. Having witnessed firsthand the benefits and consequences of a federally illegal lifestyle of elevation, Vincent underscored the social and legal challenges in his work, leading to several moving pieces promoting cannabis legalization. While people frequently speak of the blood, sweat and tears that go into art, Vincent’s experience was often more literal due to the themes explored in his paintings that often transcended the unfair definitions of stoner art.
Vincent’s blotter art excels at pop culture references typically ranging from the 1960s through today, paying tribute to stoner art tropes while not remaining confined by them. From prints of anxious skateboard deck sketches to a melange of cartoon characters both cult and classic, portraits both sultry and surreal to bunny-fied blotter art, Vincent Gordon’s vision is far reaching, uncompromising and wholly unique. Dab Nation currently has a variety of extremely limited prints by Vincent Gordon at affordable prices. Each print is signed by the artist so if you want to buy into an art investment without blowing your whole paycheck, you won’t find a better opportunity.
Bonelord Makes Art That Makes Art
Glass connoisseurs will instantly recognize artist Eric Swartz by the moniker Bonelord. That’s because Sacramento-based Bonelord Glass has been on a steady rise since 2008 due to his daring use of color, stunningly ambitious designs and unorthodox techniques. His raw talent earned him an apprenticeship with BD Glassworks’ Daniel Ottone shortly after purchasing his first torch. You may recall Bonelord’s 1st prize win for the 2019 Champs Glass Games Master Finals in which he beat out stiff competition to take home the $10K check. It was at this show that he created a true feat of physics that surpassed expectations of stoner art. A skull-emblazoned glass rig was loaded with paint and hung from a tree as a glass pendulum that then created subsequent works in a fluid illustration of geometric art in motion. A stunning example of art creating art, Bonelord’s creation stood as a monument of functionality.
When you visit our Los Angeles location, you will find the abstract results of Bonelord’s project on the wall to your left. This UV-reactive cosmic spiraling piece of deep black voids, illuminating white contours and pink polka dots of varying shades is available for purchase, but due to the unique nature of the piece’s creation, it’s not listed on our site. However, patrons with serious inquiries can contact our Los Angeles store by phone or direct message through our Instagram page for details.
Dab Nation’s Citizen Artist Raven6
Regulars at Dab Nation’s Los Angeles location need no introduction to Raven6 who’s not only the store manager but also an artist working in neon cityscapes and relaying urban facets of LA’s electric underground through his multimedia work. His pieces are the most recent to join the Dab Nation gallery. Serving up slices of SoCal grit through a filter of vibrant surrealism, Raven6 admits that he feels at his most confident and creatively liberated after a few puffs. Though he got his start as a graffiti artist owing to a fascination with hip hop and graffiti culture, his interests quickly locked on illustration. These days, he doesn’t limit himself to a single medium, preferring instead to work with anything from acrylic to charcoal, spray paint to markers. Raven6’s work often employs a Vaporwave aesthetic in its blend of neon retro patterns and hypercolor portraits as he explores themes of female empowerment, urban modernism and anything in between that manages to catch his discerning eye.
Moodmats Offers Functional Stoner Art for Non-Investors
For those of us who don’t have the money to invest in original art or limited prints but still appreciate a great piece of functional stoner art, moodmats offers a real treat. Their Artist Series takes the work of established painters and up-and-coming artisans alike to present some of their most definitive designs as upcycled dab mats. Crafted from a material moodmats dubs “lava rubber”, each dab mat is made of recycled neoprene from a diverse range of discarded products including tires, swimwear, weatherstripping, and more. This creates a surprisingly nice canvas for reprinted works of art. Artists as diverse as Vincent Gordon, Chump Magic, Grimjob (Michael Shantz), Jerome Baker, Steve Sizelove, KGB Glass and more have had their work included in moodmats’ Artist Series. Despite the fact that these are art reproductions on dab mats as opposed to the originals and signed prints featured above, the moodmats Artist Series are still limited and tend to sell out quickly.
While you can walk into Dab Nation any day of the week and see these inspiring works on display, our manager of retail operations Wayne Weissblatt continues to curate new pieces from artists both established and on the rise that continue to push the boundaries of what defines stoner art. Our shops have had to forego our usual events schedule due to the global pandemic, but with states reopening, plans for gallery shows are in their early stages. You can expect a return to public events, including gallery shows, by early 2022 and possibly even as soon as the end of this year.