Australian artist TROG’s work is focused on the culture of weed. Setting up his easel, globally at events, he works in real time painting wildly vivid depictions of a world where weed fuels the imagination. For collectors of psychedelic art, TROG’s work is mandatory. Vice Magazine praised him, stating he’s “The dopest illustrator and choof […]
Australian artist TROG’s work is focused on the culture of weed. Setting up his easel, globally at events, he works in real time painting wildly vivid depictions of a world where weed fuels the imagination.
For collectors of psychedelic art, TROG’s work is mandatory. Vice Magazine praised him, stating he’s “The dopest illustrator and choof aficionado Australia has ever produced.”
In 2015, TROG’s notoriety earned him his own cultivar, aptly named TROG; by Mountain High Organics Farm of Oregon. His work has been showcased in music videos in collaboration with musicians and celebrities, including Cheech & Chong, Snoop Dogg, and the Kottonmouth Kings, to name a few.
Brightly colored, wild cartoon-like creations have been put to cloth, within his Smelly Clothing Co. line, since 2014. But, his coloring books are partaking favorites, with him stating, “Weed and coloring just go together!”
Coloring books include The Cooked Book, and The Killer Weed Coloring Book: For Marijuana Lovers – all made with durable covers you can roll a joint on. This year he launched The Dab Coloring Book and Let’s Draw, which allows fans to interact with TROG’s work.
Locked Down with an Easel
Currently on lockdown in Australia, due to the current COVID-19 Pandemic, Trog said the ordeal has actually had a huge silver lining for him, personally.
“My work was set to be a part of an art show in Spain that also included some of my idols – Robert Crumb and Gilbert Shelton. The show was cancelled due to the virus,” he shared from his home in Australia. “But the real news for me is, the virus wiped out my deadline list, so I could actually finish a comic book I’ve been working on for years – and now it’s ready to go to print!”
Artists and deadlines can be a buzzkill. For those who make their living in the creative arts, whether it’s writing or creating art, deadlines are a necessary evil and can make or break the fluidity of the work.
“Deadlines suck balls!” he exclaimed. “It kills the creative art, to a degree. But, it’s like a pathway. You start out wanting to do so much, and you dream about it and strive towards it – you need to play the game or the deadlines will end up pushing you away from that dream. At the end of the day, you as the artist accept the deadline, so you need to accept the responsibility of delivering it.”
The way he’s gotten around the deadline conundrum is to work on paying art first, then let his imagination run wild for his own pleasure, keeping the muse happy.
“It’s funny, you will have pieces due and backed-up, and then you might sign a new piece to the list and you are into it and feeling the ideas for that particular project, so you push the other projects to the back and work on what inspires you, just to get it out of your head!” he explained.
He added that brains are a weird place, where thoughts are not always in your control, they are within the power of the muse, that fuels the weirdness within.
His final thoughts on deadlines is, “If you want to be that old dude sitting there at 80 or 90 years-old, saying, ‘I gave it my all and helped contribute to something bigger than my own career, and contributed to a style of art that helped me breathe and live’, then deadlines are a big part of that!”
Drawn to the Plant
The first time Trog partook the plant was in the late 1980s, when he was just twelve-years-old.
“My best friend Shem’s brother was older, and he had some weed and he asked if we wanted to join him,” he explained. Immediately and instinctively he knew it was good, even at this young age.
“I knew it would not hurt anyone – contrary to what we had all heard,” he added. “I’m an artist and weed is just so fucking good to do when you are creating art! Sure, I can draw without it, but just being elevated from the plant, and drawing freely, lets you do some stuff that ends up being incredibly off the charts. At least that’s been my experience.”
Influencers over the years have included Rick Griffin, Robert Crumb, Stanley Mouse, Gilbert Shelton, and Ed Roth, to name a few.
“I dreamt I’d be an artist of their caliber, but within the world of weed,” he said, knowingly. “Everything in my life is art related – counter culture art, old-school, high-as-fuck cartoon art.”
His latest Coronavirus-lock down-induced comic book is titled You So High and is number zero, beginning a series of books to come. Even Trog admits there’s some “weird shit in there.”
“When most people think of comics they think of clean-cut, friendly comics or cartoons – like mainstream stuff. That’s what they have grown up to know comics as. I never really got into that,” he chuckled. “My art and influence is from underground comics, and this latest work shows it. It’s a weird mix of little comic strips that will continue through the series of books, with some wack adventures. There are some really fried sketch pages, and there’s some pages to color – it’s a mix of everything I’ve done in the past, and then some.”
His plan is to include other artists in upcoming books in the series.
“If you are looking for a comic book to read and enjoy, this probably isn’t going to be the book for you,” he advised. “But, if you want something you can pick-up when you are melted into the couch and just stare at when you’re high-as-shit, and laugh and find stuff within the pages, then this is the right book for you.”
TROG’s work is his life and vis-à-vis. His work has become an iconic world of wonder, channeling into art what we feel while being lifted or pleasantly medicated. Creating spaces for our high minds to wander and ponder.
“I don’t smoke twenty-four/seven, and I’m really not a huge stoner,” he concluded. “I smoke when I feel like it. But, cannabis will be close to my box of pens forever. It is and will be my muse until the day I die. But, most importantly, I know my art will live on within the world of cannabis long after I’m dead and gone. And that makes me happy.”
Photo of Trog Drawing by Sharon Letts