Emily Eizen designs Justice for All campaign inspired by Worsley family
Colorful, vibrant, some even say she’s the next Keith Haring! Cannabis advocate Emily Eizen is an in-demand artist who works in painting, sculpture, photography, modeling and performance. Eizen’s 60s psychedelic-inspired works showcase the beauty, freedom, and diversity she considers essential to establishing equity in the cannabis space and beyond. Eizen’s impressive portfolio and commissions highlight her ability to adapt to different styles and aesthetics across gender and sexuality spectrums, defying convention.
In addition to her original art, you can see examples of her work with some of the industry’s hottest campaigns like Alice and Olivia x Kush Queen and PAX x More Flowerful, and some of the best brands on the shelves like Stone. Road, Herbarium, Fade Co, TKO CBD, Saucy, ERBA Markets, Blüm, Autumn Brands, Space Coyote, Jungmaven, Miss Grass, The Pottery, Haute Smokes, Sweet Flower… just to name a few.
In honor of 420 this year, Eizen has been chosen by personal wellness and CBD brand House of Wise to design a limited edition, NFT CBD Justice For All gummy sample box inspired by the struggles of the Worsley family after cannabis conviction in partnership with Last Prisoner Project (LPP) with 100% of profits benefiting LPP and the Worsley family.
Sean and Eboni Worsley’s story is all too common: they were arrested, trapped in the complexities of the criminal justice system, and victims of the incongruity of state laws, in this case Alabama v. ‘Arizona. As a result, they faced severe penalties and lasting impacts on their livelihoods and their mental, emotional and physical health. The design of the limited-edition packaging created by Eizen is inspired by Sean Worsley’s military service, which is why he used medical marijuana and had it with him when he was arrested.
I spoke with the artist to learn more about the inspiration behind this important collaboration.
You were particularly moved when you met the Worsleys…
Emily Eizen: Sean and Eboni’s story moved me on so many levels: I felt so angry at our whole system for being designed to trap a bunch of people in trouble. I also feel responsible for helping spark change by using my art and my platform to help amplify Sean and Eboni’s story. It is imperative to center criminal justice reform and a push for cannabis leniency in our discussions around 4/20. With guidance from Sean and Eboni, I sought to articulate their experience into visual artwork that can help their story reach more people and draw attention to the thousands of people currently behind bars for senseless, non-violent cannabis accusations.
Tell us about the packaging you designed…
EE: The main design is inspired by traditional camouflage – a recognizable pattern – but in a refreshed and vibrant aesthetic. The green of the camouflage is accentuated by a dark outline, giving a slight nod to the hemp and the cannabis plant. The purple in the camouflage pattern represents the Purple Heart that Sean received after his time in Iraq. The camouflage pattern is carefully printed in reflective symmetry on the box similar to Rorschach inkblots, acknowledging the need to treat and care for mental health, in addition to physical health issues. The back of the box features broken chains, representing the tens of thousands of people currently incarcerated for cannabis, deprived of their freedom, who deserve to be free right now.
And what is behind the NFT design?
EE: The NFT is about how we can consciously “celebrate” 4/20 while being mindful and aware that there needs to be serious political reform now. The idea is to celebrate the fact that cannabis is more mainstream while drawing attention to all the ways change has yet to happen.
The design shows two cannabis (or hemp) plants emerging from a shadow hole (i.e. cannabis becoming more mainstream and less stigmatized). Below are images representing different elements of cannabis culture/uses: lips for sensuality, a medical cross for health with pills falling below to symbolize cannabis as a more holistic medicine, a light bulb for creativity /ideas, a smile for happiness, a heart for love. Most importantly, I’ve included a dove carrying a hemp leaf to symbolize freedomand the word Justice because we can’t forget the two most important parts of creating a meaningful 4/20 vacation.
Why does selling your art as NFT appeal to you and the art community?
EE: With everything I do, I always seek to promote representation, diversity, equity and inclusion in art, and monetizing my works as NFTs is no different. I would love to use this new avenue as a vehicle to showcase and collect crypto art from LGBTQ, BIPOC, and legacy artists in the cannabis community and beyond.
Selling my art as NFT appeals to me personally because in the art world there are so many platforms to share work…but few of these platforms, like Instagram, allow for real monetization, ownership records, credits to the creator, etc. If anything, until now social media and the internet have generally encouraged and enabled the theft of digitally available works, or at least have drastically reduced the value of art – we see this with streaming music , and we also see it with visual art. .
People can steal artwork, music, etc., modify it, and recycle it as their own content, and often this happens without attribution, credit, or payment to the original creator. So, an attractive factor is being able to use blockchain technology to take back control of royalties and digital rights. Using NFTs, artists can choose what percentage of each sale they earn, so even after your artwork sells and it continues to be traded or even remixed, you can still generate income and gain recognition.
More than the money though, I think artists, myself included, are most excited about the amazing new creative community and artistic movement resulting from the cryptocurrency movement – inspired artwork styles today are so fresh.
What future for artists, crypto and fundraising?
EE: The amazing thing about the crypto community is that it keeps evolving, so rapidly, and I love connecting with other new creators who inspire me. Through this collaboration with House of Wise x LPP, I am honored to be part of a wave of artists using NFTs that bring intrinsic, tangible value to the owner of NFTs and provide a financial resource for the causes they support. .
What was it like collaborating with HoW, LPP & Eboni & Sean?
EE: There is still so much to do when it comes to this holiday. I think my biggest takeaway is that anyone who uses cannabis or hemp has some responsibility to do what they can to help raise the voice of the need for criminal justice reform. There are so many things in this country that are so wrong and unfair. As cannabis users, we already have this sense of community and unity – we just have to put it to good use. It can be at any level, state, federal or even in your own communities and invest in people and brands that actually do the work.
[Disclosure: I am the co-founder and Chairperson of the Board for the non-profit Last Prisoner Project].