Arts & Craft (Video): Animating Strains And Cultivating Creativity Through Cannabis

How Duncan Hatch visualized Sherb Cake, Lamb’s Bread, Mimosa, and Double Krush

For the past few months, Duncan Hatch has been commissioned to do something that millions of people do for free. Tapped by the Mass cannabis brand Nature’s Heritage to smoke pot and draw, so far the Boston-based artist has interpreted Mimosa, Double Krush, Sherb Cake, and Lamb’s Bread via intricate collages that morph into strain-specific animations.

Don’t overthink it. As Hatch explained during a recent interview on the day when he picked up the first batch of posters for the project from the printer, “I just smoke the weed and kind of visualize it.”

The Nature’s Heritage assignment may be an extraordinary gig, but it’s hardly Hatch’s first cruise through the intersection of commercial art and counterculture. Born and raised in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, he “was lucky to have known I wanted to be an artist ever since I was a little kid.”

While he didn’t know that he’d be illustrating weed strains way back then, his influences certainly fomented the potential. From Nickelodeon classics like Rugrats to Aaahh!!! Real Monsters to Ren & Stimpy, Hatch said “things got real weird.” “It was the wild west of kids animation,” he recalled fondly.

He also “started getting weird with it, making a lot of monsters, making superheroes and stuff.” “You kind of take that human form and make it weird, you make animal people,” Hatch said. He continued, half-jokingly, “That’s where I went with it—to the concern of my parents and relatives.”

The artist continued, “When you’re going to college, everyone says art is not going to make you money.” Hatch attended Suffolk University in Boston, which is well known for its business and political science programs. He said that when he told people that he majored in illustration, they often said, Oh, wait, we have an art school here?

He cut his teeth and learned to animate at Suffolk though, and has since worked with musicians on rock posters and their videos, and also has his own fully animated short film finished after years of working on it. And then there is the dream assignment: smoking joints and pondering what might pop out of a jar of fresh flower if we all inhabited an animated cool world like in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Hatch explained how it all came about with Nature’s Heritage approaching him …

“One of the coolest things about it was how they were just like, Do whatever you want. … We really like your work, your work has this particular vibe going on and we want to talk about these new strains we have coming out. We want to do art for them, we want to do animation.”

The result: a fruity Sherb Cake explosion on one poster, with berries blasting through the sky past peace signs, rainbows, and confections. Or in the case of Double Krush, Hatch said, “There was one huge touchpoint in terms of flavor—the gasoline, the burning, the rubber.” In his design, that materialized as a grim reaper on a flaming chopper clearing a volcano with a deadly snake in his wake.

“They’re inspired by a lot of things,” Hatch says of his creations. Mostly, though, he’s “just smoking weed and drawing pictures.”