Pot Culture’s Latest Twist

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There’s nothing unusual about adults following their creative bent by making art. But coloring books for adults presumably channeling their inner pre-schooler?

Jared Hoffman
Jared Hoffman

The idea is less odd than it sounds. Amazon, purveyor of books and everything else, carries dozens of coloring books for adults with titles such as “The Mindfulness Coloring Book: Anti-Stress Art Therapy For Busy People,” touting at once relaxation and stimulation of the senses. Publications as diverse as Parade and Time magazines and the Huffington Post have featured articles on adults getting into coloring. Parade headlined theirs “50 Shades of Happy: The New Joy of Coloring.”

“We’ve been aware of coloring books as de-stressers for grown-ups for some time. They come in a large range based on mandalas, on psychedelic art and images from art history,” said Bonnie Leideritz, a recent Laguna College of Art and Design graduate.

Now, a new addition to the genre is in the making, “The Stoner’s Coloring Book: Coloring for high-minded adults.” Created by Jared Hoffman, 22, a Laguna Beach resident and self-confessed inhaler, it combines the popularity of adult coloring books and the growing acceptance of marijuana , both medicinal and recreational. “Marijuana has gone mainstream,” said Hoffman.

Statistics bear him out since marijuana is now sanctioned by at least 15 states, fully in Colorado and Washington state, and with some restrictions in place elsewhere. In California medicinal use was allowed as early as 1996 and full-scale legalization for adults may be on ballots by 2016.

Hoffman’s source of inspiration came from an occult coloring book he found in the basement of his grandmother’s home in Berkeley, he said.

“It’s a coloring book for everyone,” said Hoffman. “Besides, I get teased about real stoners’ ability to stay within the lines,” he quipped.

Hoffman majored in communication science, but his love for art making began in childhood. “I have been painting all my life. It is the thing that got me up in the morning, and I’ve also made pen and ink line drawings for the last year,” he said.

While on page one of the book he admits to occasionally getting too high to form complete sentences, Hoffman said that coloring can be totally absorbing, especially while high. But, he also thinks that the title is a marketing tool. “Pot has always inspired countless side-businesses since the ‘60s,” he said.

Many images reference marijuana culture, including smoking paraphernalia to foods commonly consumed while under the influence. Others appear nonsensical to the uninitiated, but can be as various references to flying high.

And, let’s not forget Ken Kesey’s iconic school bus immortalized in countless publications including Tom Wolfe’s “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.”

Hoffman’s book includes a version of the bus. “Seriously, I’ve poured my heart, soul, and lungs into this effort for the past couple months, and it’s finally ready for public eyes … psychedelic, graffiti-inspired, and oven-toasted like a delicious banana bread.”

Janet M. Koelle works at Laguna Art Supply and found Hoffman’s effort amusing. “I know it will do very well. Lately, every third person who comes in asks whether we have adult coloring books. Coloring is so meditative, and the big draw is that one does not have to be artistic. Adults all over are having coloring parties,” she said.

Hoffman hopes to meet his initial fundraising goal of $6,420 by the deadline of Aug.14, which will allow him to publish a basic paperback version. With a self-imposed publishing deadline of Sept. 25, he is continuing to raise funds for the project through Kickstarter, an online fundraising site. If he reaches his goal of $12,420, he will publish a deluxe edition featuring a foil cover, bleed-proof pages and a page of rolling papers.

A 45-page prototype shows line drawings by Hoffman and invited artists. Some are fellow Cornell University grads and others from Chicago and even Singapore. He is still looking for contributors as well. Aspirants should contact [email protected]


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