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Stay Stoned: Madness, Cannabis & Tattoos

This exhibition explores the crossover of two previously controversial topics: cannabis and tattoos.


On display until 17/03/2024



© Tomas Redrey

© Sem Boy

Temporary exhibition

Stay Stoned: Madness, Cannabis & Tattoos

Stay Stoned: Madness, Cannabis & Tattoos explores the crossover of two previously controversial topics: cannabis and tattoos. This exhibition, which was previously on view in our museum in Amsterdam, showcases a new collection of cannabis tattoo art from the book Stay Stoned Vol. II., compiled by tattoo experts Gilberto Cannarozzi and Samuele ‘Sem Boy’ Salvadori (published 2022).

The Marihuana Marlboro Man

Tattooing and cannabis use have both been part of human cultures for thousands of years, whether for ceremonial or recreational purposes, but it wasn’t until the early 1970s that tattoos displaying one’s love for cannabis started to appear. Smiling weed leaves, stoned cartoon characters, the Zig-Zag Man (marihuana’s enigmatic answer to the Marlboro Man), and pin-up girls on cannabis flowers, joints and bongs have been popular subjects for permanent decoration since these revolutionary years.

From the underground to the mainstream

As both cannabis and tattoos move closer to mainstream acceptance in many parts of the world, the stigma around them is falling away. The requirement to hide both cannabis use and skin art in order to secure a promotion or make the ‘right impression’ is no longer as pressing. According to museum founder Ben Dronkers, cannabis tattoos can be ‘…a declaration of love, a rebellious statement, a token of freedom, an activist act, or maybe even a hazy decision, it is quite something to get a permanent and visible marker of love for the plant’.

New twists on classic tattoo themes

There is no shortage of tattoo designs, from elaborate custom pieces needing multiple sessions to the off-the-peg images known as ‘flash’ that decorate the walls of most tattoo studios. Stay Stoned: Madness, Cannabis & Tattoos features no less than fifty newly-made paintings, drawings and flash depicting new twists on classic tattoo themes, demonstrating that the genre of cannabis tattoos is still vibrant today.

Psychedelic poster art

Featured tattoo artists include Danny Boy, Jondix, Bill Loika, Robert Ryan, Tomas Redrey and Henk & Morris Schiffmacher. Lending historical context to these modern designs is a display of brightly-coloured, psychedelic poster art of the 1970s, selected from the museum collection, that relate to imagery seen in the original cannabis tattoos. Fans of tattoos and cannabis, but also contemporary design history and modern subcultures, will all find something to enjoy here.

Stay Stoned: Madness, Cannabis & Tattoos runs from May 13th, 2023 to March 17th, 2024.

About the guest curators

Samuele Salvadori, also known as Sem Boy, is an Italian tattoo artist currently based in Tuscany, where he is the resident artist at Old Boys in Livorno and Classic Tattoo in Viareggio. A fanzine and book enthusiast since he started going to punk gigs at a young age, in 2012 he began tattooing, specialising in the traditional style. He channels his love for cannabis into his practice, making it a recurrent theme in his designs.

Gilberto Cannarozzi is a multidisciplinary Italian artist currently based in the Netherlands. He has been passionate about graphic design, fanzines, and drawings since the early 2000s, when he started skateboarding, a passion that has influenced his artistic practice ever since.

Stay Stoned is a project born from a long friendship between Samuele and Gilberto, founded on their shared passions for tattoos, graphic art, and publishing.

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