This 37-year-old creates amazing mosaics using the humble medium of used roach papers from smoked joints.
Amazingly, this is just something Cliff does in his spare time. He’s one of Pittsburgh’s finest tattoo artists at his day job. But it’s his roach paper Chronic Art that has captured the imagination of folks nationwide.
As a student at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Cliff had the opportunity to take inspiration from the great mosaics of the past. “I was studying mosaics in school,” Maynard remembers. “I just remember sort of making this connection in my head between the tiles and roach papers.”
His roach paper portraits include iconic rock star stoners like Jimi Hendrix, Jerry Garcia, and John Lennon, and hemped hop rap stars like Snoop Dogg and Method Man.
|Jimi Hendrix: Burning of the midnight roach?|
All these followed his very first roach paper portrait, which was of Jesus. “Maybe it’s a Catholic thing,” Maynard says. Another piece is Cliff’s roach paper take on the Michelangelo classic “Creation.”
“I’m always a little worried that I may run in to some trouble for my art,” Cliff told Mids Magazine. “That’s why I didn’t take my work public sooner. I think times are changing though. The marijuana movement has been winning battles left and right.”
Maynard’s Chronic Art offers original artworks and prints for sale, and also does some commissioned work.
Cliff’s currently offering hand-signed and numbered, limited edition, museum quality (Giclee) prints of all his mosaics. “I’m only making 420 of each design,” he told Toke of the Town. “The prints come professionally mounted and matted in black. All you need is a frame.”
Originals can take over 200 hours to finish, Maynard told us. “An 8×10 portrait is about $2,000 and the larger pieces start at around $3,000,” Cliff said.
|The artist himself: Roach paper king Cliff Maynard rocks.|
The fantastic level of detail present in Cliff’s work is truly mind-boggling. When you start to grok how much time must have been spent fitting together all those sticky little bits of paper, cutting and arranging them in a way as to form a work of art, you have to admire this guy’s dedication. Hell, Cliff is a one-man refutation of pot’s supposed “amotivational syndrome.”
“The next project that’s about to be done is Jack Herer,” Cliff told Toke of the Town. “Then a Marc and Jodie Emery. I decided to do an ‘activists’ series of portraits. It’ll include Ed Rosenthal, Rev. Eddy Lepp, Richard Lee of Oaksterdam, and I’ll probably do a Rick Simpson at some point,” he told us.
Although until recently Cliff would probably have fit into the “unknown artist” category, he’s fast leaving the “unknown” part of that in the ash heap.
Maynard’s unique and phenomenal talent has turned the heads of numerous cannabis luminaries such as Cheech & Chong, Marc Emery (“a roach art Renaissance!”), Todd McCormick (“absolutely epic!”), Rev. Eddy Lepp (“I LOVE this shit!”), and Vivian McPeak, all of whom totally freaked on the level of passion, skill and detail in Cliff’s work.
|Cliff hard at work at his day job as tattoo artist.|
“Cliff’s incredible roach paper renderings are beyond stunning, they are phenomenal,” said McPeak, executive director of Seattle Hempfest. “Cliff’s ability to make the papers come alive and fool the mind’s eye is a unique gift that everyone should get a chance to witness.”
Or as the inimitable Tommy Chong put it, “Creative way to dispose of roaches, man!”