Prolific Australian psychedelic artist, TROG and his work have become synonymous with weed culture. You may have spotted him at any number of cannabis events around the world, working in real time on one of his paintings. Word has it if you collect psychedelic art, TROG’s work is a must-have, with Vice Magazine showering him with accolades, stating he is “The dopest illustrator and choof aficionado Australia has ever produced.”
His work has been shown and followed around the world, with pieces in music videos in collaboration with numerous musicians and celebrities, including Cheech & Chong, Snoop Dogg, and the Kottonmouth Kings, to name a few.
“The first pieces of art I created for Tommy Chong were two posters for my good friend Charlie from the Monroe Street Fair and the Hashbash Festival in Ann Arbor, Michigan,” he said. “They were used as official signing posters for Tommy, and I’ve created many more posters for him since, and it’s been an honor.”
TROG’s notoriety earned him his own cultivar, aptly named TROG; first planted in 2015 by Mountain High Organics Farm of Oregon.
His brightly colored, wild cartoon-like creations have been immortalized with his Smelly Clothing Co. line, launched in 2014. But, his coloring books are stoner favorites, with him stating, “Weed and coloring just go together!”
Coloring books include The Cooked Book, and The Killer Weed Coloring Book: For Marijuana Lovers – all made with durable covers you can roll a joint on. This year he launched The Dab Coloring Book and Let’s Draw, which allows fans to interact with TROG’s work.
“Books are such an important thing to me, as they remain when everything else is going online and then disappears,” he shared. “The world needs books as it documents history. That’s what I was thinking with The Cooked Book – I wanted to document a period of my art into a book that fans could hold, touch, and look at, then pass on.”
Drawn to the Plant
“The first time I ever smoked weed was the summer of 1989 or 90,” he shared. “I was around 12 at the time. My best friend Shem, and his brother – who was a few years older than us – got some weed and asked if we wanted to come smoke some. We used a little metal pipe and metal cone pieces.”
His parents weren’t big on him smoking weed, but he instinctively knew he wasn’t hurting anyone.
“I’m an artist and weed is so fucking good for art!” he said. “Sure, I can draw the same stuff without weed, but just being stoned and drawing lets you do some stuff that ends up being real special.”
A year later, at 13 years old, he and his friends had advanced to heating up knives on the old elements. Fast forward to the mid-90s and he’s sitting on a couch in a shared house, smoking weed while attending art school.
“My artists of influence were Rick Griffin, Robert Crumb, Stanley Mouse, Gilbert Shelton, Ed Roth,” he rattled off iconic artists of pop culture. “I dreamed that one day I’d be doing what they did, but for the cannabis world.”
Dreams do come true, with one exception.
“I’ve done event posters for years around the world for many events. I included a High Times poster in my stash, because I’ve been chasing them forever,” he lamented. “I’ve drawn two event posters for them in my career and neither were released, but I’m still hopeful.”
“OK, so obviously drawing is my thing,” he laughed. “I draw and draw and draw. My stash is also my art, and everything in my life is art related – not boring art, I’m talking proper art – counter culture art, I’m talking about that old-school, stoned-out cartoon art.”
His personal stash is shown spread out on a drafting board, melding art with weed and weed with art, as it should be. The posters for Tommy Chong share space assorted work and coloring books, with his tools of the trade, assorted graphic art pens.
“There are always pens everywhere,” he said. “I only use one brand – Snowman art pens – and collect pencils from hotel rooms. I always ask room service for extra pencils. It amuses me and I never have to buy pencils!”
His kief box with his own art on the lid, was made by favorite stash maker, Pacific Northwest woodworker Myron Connery of Mr. Kief Box. Beside it is his own TROG glass dry pollen press, because, as he says, “You can’t have a kief box without a proper press!”
“Myron is a good friend, and this box will hold my weed for the rest of my life,” he said. “Myron makes these handmade with love and respect. I’ve got Girl Scout Cookies in the box in the photo, which was taken in the states – my home country of Australia is still lagging on legalizing.”
Featured in his stash are pieces from his line of TROG glass and accessories, his signature smoking accessories brand. They include what he calls his traveler, a silicone bong; and a couple of torches.
Not of his design is his treasured Slug dab rig by Slugworth of California; aka Morgan Virag, aka Loki. The glass bong is from Chris Jetter, from the Bong-A-Thon, a vintage weed competition that’s 36 years running in Colorado.
“The Bong-A-Thon is the oldest and coolest 420 contest around, and I love having one of its bongs in my stash,” he added. “The grinder is a TROG, and it’s a beast at shredding flower. The tasty strawberry flavored hemp wraps are made by Juicy.”
TROG is admittedly immersed in his work and his world of wonder, putting into art what we might be feeling while high, and creating spaces for our high minds to wonder.
“I’m not the biggest stoner by any means,” he surmised. “I only smoke when I feel like smoking – but cannabis will be in my life until the day I die, and my art will live on in the life of cannabis when I’m gone.”