Art has always been a barometer for societal change and one of the most powerful forms of activism. As cultural paradigms are shifting across the globe, modern artists are responding in bold and unapologetically outspoken work that reflects the complexity of this moment in history. Emily Eizen is one of our favorite modern day art activists, creating ‘60s psychedelic inspired works that showcase the beauty, freedom and diversity Eizen considers essential to establishing equity in the cannabis space and beyond. We spoke with Emily about merging the cultures of cannabis and art, how fashion can be a force for good, empowering femme and LGBTQ+ voices, and why cannabis can save the world.
How do you see art playing a role in shifting cultural perspectives and eliminating preconceived, false notions about cannabis?
Just like any other artist, I try to reflect the times and issues that I’m living through, as well as what others in the community are living through. I think the role of an artist can be to present issues to the public in a creative and meaningful way, and that’s what I want to do for the cannabis industry. I want people to see queer folks, BIPOC, those who have been left out or discriminated by the industry at the front and center of cannabis marketing, culture, and entrepreneruialship.
You often seem to use fashion as a medium for creating compositions. How do you feel fashion and art intersect? And how can fashion be a force for good?
I think fashion is art— especially to the queer community. Dressing the way you want can be a form of resistance and power. I also think sustainability in fashion is so important when it comes to creating a better world. I respect and support fashion brands who care about their workers, and the environment as well.
What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced as a woman in the cannabis and fashion industries? How can those industries do better to empower women’s and LGBTQ+ voices?
As a person with white privilege, I have not faced nearly as much discrimination as others in all aspects of my life, inculding the cannabis industry. Just the fact that I am able to monetize off of this industry while others are in jail, serving years for non violent cannabis violations, is discriminatory. However, as a woman in this industry, of course I have been oversexualised, objectified, belittled, and harassed. The culture of hypermasculinity is extremely prevalent, and even though that's slowly changing, the fact remains that many spaces, brands, and campaigns are not safe or inclusive for women and femmes. By using my platform to uplift these groups, my goal is to affect the culture of cannabis as a whole, for the better.
In an influencer culture that is often shaped by Instagram–who would you call your biggest influencer(s) outside of the social media space?
Cannabis “influencers,” or the idea of me being a cannabis influencer never really sat right with me. I think it should be about more than being a pretty face blowing smoke. I look up to our LGBTQ pioneers in the industry, namely Dennis Peron, without whom we would not have medicinal cannabis. Also, Marsha P. Johnson and Silvia Rivera, who birthed LGBTQ+ pride through resistance and riots. Pop artists like Andy Warhol also influence me greatly.
What do you feel are the most significant actions individuals can take to work towards a more equal and inclusive future for all?
I think the most overlooked and a very powerful action people can take is in their local and city governments. Interacting with your City Council, and also voting in ALL levels of government create impact in our immediate areas and communities. Having difficult conversations with your peers and family about racial justice and LGBTQ issues is also an important first step. Additionally, using your right to protest and assemble has the ability to fasttrack policies and reforms.
After years of misinformation, the general public finally seems to be waking up to the truth and facts about the benefits of cannabis. What do you wish more people knew about this plant? Are there any specific things you use hemp for, other than wearing it?
I want people to know that cannabis can save the world — specifically hemp. It has so many uses outside of recreation. Hemp can create jobs, housing, clothing, and so much more. I love using hemp in my beauty routine. I use Taylor + Tess CBD toner as well as Kush Queen CBD makeup primer.