Rolling a blunt
The Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum expands its collection every year thanks to donations and acquisitions. One recent addition is the sculpture “I Don’t Mean To Be Blunt” (2014) by the American artist/designer Sergio Garcia (1978). The piece, which was on show in 2014 at the Scope international art fair in Miami, consists of two lifelike forearms and hands rolling a blunt.
The left forearm features a tattoo of an American bald eagle, the national bird of the United States. The detail is incredible; the wrinkles on the hands and the pores in the skin look scarily real. This hyper-realistic depiction reminds one of the life-size sculptures of the American artist Duane Hanson (1925-1996). With Hanson, you also always need to take a second look. You can never be sure the piece isn't a real person. Hanson’s sophisticated and detailed figures temporarily remove the boundary between illusion and reality. Standing eye to eye with Garcia’s hyper-realistic arms is a similair perplexing experience, all the more so because the arms are cut off at the elbow.
Elements from street culture
Sergio Garcia works at the boundary between design and art. He takes elements from street culture and then remodels them. His works deal with alienation and taking a different view of reality, with a humorous twist. His similar work “It’s Supposed To Make You Feel Something” (2014) consists of two lifelike female arms and hands rolling a joint. The silver glitter nail varnish and her diamond ring suggest these arms belong to a socialite who as well as an expensive lip gloss and an iPhone also has (medicinal) cannabis in her handbag.
The title “I Don’t Mean To Be Blunt” can be interpreted in two ways. Firs of all, it is not the artist’s intention to be too direct (‘blunt’) towards the viewer with these two bodiless hands rolling a blunt. Casually rolling a blunt is, after all, not socially acceptable, whilst the cannabis smoker does not wish to bother anyone. Secondly, blunt is also the American name for a cannabis filled cigar. Unlike a joint - a cigarette made up of cannabis, whereby two ingredients (tobacco and weed or hash) are combined (from the English verb ‘to join’), a blunt is usually smoked pure, without the addition of tobacco. There are two ways of rolling a blunt: using special cigarette paper (‘blunt wraps’) or by cutting open a normal cigar lengthways, removing the tobacco and then proceeding to fill the split cigar with cannabis.
Sergio Garcia clearly drew inspiration for “I Don’t Mean To Be Blunt” from US hip hop culture. Just as Parisian poets, writers and philosophers at the end of the nineteenth century were fond of using hash, the American rappers of our times have a serious liking for smoking blunts. “Blunt smoke coming out the nose, is all a nigga knows,” raps Notorious B.I.G. in his song “Niggas” (1999). The first blunts were rolled in New York in the 1980s. A blunt was the perfect stimulant for a rapper; it combined a low-class activity (on account of the stigma and the illegal status of smoking weed) with the aristocratic flair of a cigar. Via their music videos on MTV, rappers showed the rest of the world that they smoked joints like a boss. Since then, the blunt has become an integral part of hip hop culture. Rapper Snoop Dogg, a big cannabis enthusiast, has even taken on a full-time private blunt roller.
Specially for the museum, Sergio Garcia has produced two versions of his piece, so that “I Don’t Mean To Be Blunt” can be seen in both Amsterdam and in Barcelona.
2014 “Infinite Chapters”, White Walls, San Francisco
2014 “It’s Like the Beginning of That One Song”, Kirk Hopper Fine Art, Dallas
2012 “Social”, Kirk Hopper Fine Art, Dallas
2012 “Sergio Garcia”, Frosch&Portmann, New York
2008 “Formal”, Kettle Art, Dallas
A selection of group exhibitions
2015 “20 Years Under the Influence of Juxtapox”, Municipal Art Gallery, Los Angeles
2015 “La Familia”, Thinkspace Gallery, Los Angeles
2014 “An Even Eleven”, Shooting Gallery, San Francisco
2013 “Los Outsiders”, Mexic-Arte Museum, Austin
2011 “From the Street to the Cube”, White Walls, San Francisco
2010 “Graffiti”, University of North Texas, Denton
2010 “Art of Cannes”, Cannes Film Festival
2007 “These”, Kettle Art, Dallas
2004 “Elements”, Plush Gallery, Dallas
2003 Deep Ellum Center for Artists, Dallas