Of Art and Cannabis: The Work of Jay Paul Apodaca

All photos courtesy of Jay Paul Apodaca

“Artists have always had an affinity for green,” says Jay Paul Apodaca, one of Denver’s most prolific and successful artists. I became aware of Apodaca’s work when my boss at The Green Solution’s corporate office acquired one of his cannabis-themed paintings, “Male Indica,” and I was instantly struck by the vibrant quality of the work. I reached out to the artist and he agreed to meet with me to discuss his art and to show me some of his paintings.

We met at Fluid Coffee Bar’s uptown location (which features Apodaca’s art on its walls), and our conversation revolved around the conjunction of art and cannabis. “I’ll pick out strains for what I’m trying to get across to the viewer,” he explained. He generally keeps several different strains on hand so that he can match his mood to his art. While “Skywalker OG becomes 20 paintings in black and white and gray,” he’ll use a sativa to amp himself up for occasions when he’s painting live before a crowd. “Cannabis more than anything has been at the core of (his art) and pushed my artwork further.”

At his home/studio, Apodaca and his lovely 10-year-old daughter, Layla, gave me a tour. “I have very open-minded children,” the artist said. He has paintings in collections all over the world, but Denver is and always has been home for Apodaca. “Denver has it over other cities,” he says, citing diversity and the freedom for citizens to choose to use recreational cannabis legally as reasons he loves the city.

The three of us walked to the private museum/home of a collector to view even more of Apodaca’s work. In this venue, his work is exhibited alongside Picassos and Basquiats and it fits in marvelously. Apodaca’s daughter gleefully pointed out a large painting of herself.

Apodaca has created an astonishing number of works of art (over 20,000), but he’s all about the future, not the past. “I’d like to continue promoting education about art and marijuana,” he said, adding that the more knowledge and understanding there is, “the less fear, the more creative the culture becomes.”

Jay Paul Apodaca is a powerful presence in the art world, and we look forward to seeing what direction his art takes next. If you’re interested in purchasing a painting, you can contact the artist at jaypaulapodaca.jpa@gmail.com.