SEAN DIETRICH ART
The cannabis and smoke shop industry is saturated with products and packaging reflecting the latest pop culture icons and cartoon characters, artist Sean Dietrich is bringing a dose of originality to the table — or the canvas, to be more precise.
“I don’t try to fit in, and honestly, I try and run the opposite direction,” says Dietrich, whose whimsical style gives respectful nods to fhis favorite alternative artists, writers and musicians, including Ralph Steadman, Franz Kafka, Tim Burton, and Pink Floyd, and blends in elements of mythology, history, and his own personal journey, to create images and a story that are all his own.
“I don’t go full bore psychedelic. I never been there myself, and I’m not really into those bands or doing cartwheels in the park in San Francisco,” Dietrich says. “I just let my art grow with me as i’ve mature from being a crazy kid in my twenties running around New Orleans to getting married and having a family.”
As one of the hardest working live painters, Dietrich has lashed his paint, pain and egomaniacal perspective across the thousands of helpless blank canvasses. His Jameson-bred talent has infected the graphic novel, comic, gaming, and film industries, laying waste to each with nihilistic abandon. Among his clients are Facebook, Sony PlayStation, Pabst Beer, High Times and a multitupe of private commissions.
Within the cannabis community, Dietrich’s work, until now, has been best recognized by those rolling a joint on an OCB tray. His association with the rolling paper brand started with limited edition poster and rolling tray featuring the “Stag Head Girl,” a antler-haired deity surrounded by desert canyons and lush rainforests, which tied into the organic nature of OCB papers. The idea was to give the promo pieces away at trade shows, but Dietrich knew right away, as fans rushed the booth to get his signature, that his contribution was going to catch fire in a bigger way.
Dietrich doesn’t claim to be first artist to put his imagery on rolling tray, but he’ll gladly take credit for putting ‘fine art’ on a tray and respecting the fact that not all cannabis enthusiasts are stereotypical stoners.
“I’m not painting for an industry; I’m painting for myself. It comes down to this — good art is good art,” Dietrich says. “The fact that my artwork is enjoyed by people from all walks of life goes to show that you don’t have to be pigeonholed or play by some set of outdated rules for how to succeed in the pot industry.”
Sean Dietrich Art now has its own space within the cannabis and smoke shop world. Following the “Apple mentality” that everything is top quality from the printing process to the products themselves, Dietrich has carefully curated his favorite artwork and put it onto grinders, dab mats, stickers, patches, T-shirts, and tapestries. He’s even done custom collabs with some big-name smoking brands including Zippo Lighters, Toker Poker, and Genius Pipe. AFG Distribution has been one of his best supporters on the distro end of things.
“Over the last year of being on lockdown, it gave me a lot of time to sit back and think about my next step. How do I go from drinking beer to drinking fine spirits?” Dietrich says. “I could have moved to LA and gotten into TV and movies and 3D animation and tried to build a name for myself a little quicker, but when it comes to creating artwork, I like the slow burn.”
Knowing there’s a huge collector’s market for rolling trays — more than half million of his designs were sold with OCB, it was only natural that he release his own tray with magnetic lid (all the rage these days!). Limited to 2500 hand-numbered editions, this first-run tray pays homage to Dietrich’s days in New Orleans, and continues his tradition of painting powerful female goddesses, this time featuring red-haired voodoo loa Maman Brigitte.
“I’m a history buff and I love the imagery and the stories that come out of voodoo and spirts and whatnot,” Dietrich says. “I really get into the meat of the stories and juxtapose that with how my art do, which is a combination of everything I’ve been through in life.”
Dietrich, who published his first comic at 15, also two new art books showcasing his own bizarre take on the classic “Alice in Wonderland” hitting shelves as we speak. Some of the maniacal characters, like the Honey Hatter, Red Queen, and mischievously grinning Cheshire cat, he’s put onto his merch as well.
While Dietrich pushes art forward to a new audience, he remains completely old school traditional in his artistic process, working with real brushes and acrylic paint on giant canvases. Because of the pressure to get it right the first time, most of his designs are rendered in pencil before paint ever touches a brush.
“I don’t really like the feel (of digital art), I’ve got to have paint and ink on my hands” Dietrich says. “One of the reasons that my artwork is the caliber it is, is because I really have to think things through before I put it on canvas rather than mucking around with colors by simply pressing a button. Being that connected with the artwork, gives it an edge that digital will never have.”
Ultimately, by example, Dietrich hopes to encourage other artists and brands to stretch their imaginations and unleash the next creative evolution in this industry.
“I don’t want to see the artistic side of this really creative industry go to shit because ‘legitimate’ businesspeople and marketers come in with their cookie cutter, mainstream approach and try to make it fit into a very free-wheeling community,” Dietrich says. “I want to keep it as trippy, nonsensical, and free as it always has been.”
Sean Dietrich Art