Muralist, Jeff “Weirdo” Jacobson
On art, cannabis and the multi-dimensional life
If you’ve been to Seattle, you’ve probably seen his work—the psychedelic sea life mural at Second and Yesler; Ken Griffey Junior swinging a palm tree on the side of Neumos; a photo-realistic cat in a digital world, barreling down the road on a delivery truck. Jeff “Weirdo” Jacobson’s massive-scale, surrealist murals augment the landscape with his “Post Internet” vision of beauty, illusion and the nature of reality.
As an artist, Weirdo has achieved what most would consider the dream. Once a teenage, shoplifting tagger, he’s now a prominent force in the Seattle art scene, and travels the world, spray-painting murals for clients like Microsoft, Facebook London and Caviar Gold.
Admittedly obsessive, Weirdo relies heavily on cannabis to temper his hyperactive mind, and to tap into deeper levels of creativity and understanding.
Dope Magazine: What’s the inspiration behind your work?
Weirdo: My fine art is definitely inspired by the idea that reality is an illusion, and that we’re not alone. It’s about inter-dimensional beings that influence us and everything we do. It’s like my religion, in a way, and whenever I get a chance to interject this stuff into my commercial realm, I do. The Medicine Man [mural] at Caviar Gold is a great example of that.
Q: You definitely have a unique aesthetic. Can you talk about where that comes from?
A: Lately—like with this delivery truck—I’ve been leaning toward the idea of ‘Post-Internet.’ That is, art that’s influenced by the internet, but not made digitally or put online. So, I’m creating things that look digital. They combine hyper-realism with graphic elements, and talk about how the internet is part of everyday life and influences everything.
A lot of people don’t like working with me, because if it’s not perfect, it’s not going up. I’m tough that way, and the weed chills me out.
Q: How about your name—why do you go by Weirdo?
A: People called me weirdo a lot as a kid. I drew pictures all the time and stayed to myself. I’m anti-social by nature. When I started scribbling on things [tagging] toward the end of high school, I chose Weirdo as a name. I could redefine it that way, and show people that being different is actually better. For every kid that feels weird, be weird. The world needs more ‘different,’ now more than ever.
Q: And how does cannabis relate to your work?
A: For me, It’s certainly medicine. I’m extremely obsessive and tenacious—and hard to get along with. A lot of people don’t like working with me, because if it’s not perfect, it’s not going up. I’m tough that way, and the weed chills me out. But it still allows me to maintain my creative edge.
There’s this expanding that happens. If I’m in an argument with someone, then smoke a bowl, my brain goes ‘doo-oop.’ and I say ‘Dude, I’m sorry.’ I’m seeing things from a different perspective—and yes, I’m high, but I’m understanding. My brain is expanding and I’m learning.
Q: What’s your favorite way to use cannabis?
A: I don’t do the pens. I don’t dab. If my dealer offers me [a dab] before I leave his house, maybe. But I always go back to my grade-A pipe and some good weed. I puff down all day when I’m working on murals.
Q: Do you have a favorite strain?
A: Green crack, that’s my favorite. It’s the ultimate hundred-mile–an–hour sativa. I try to split it up—sativas all day, and then indica at night when I’m getting ready for bed. I keep it pretty cliché.
Q: What are your thoughts on cannabis and the bigger picture—what it can do for society?
A: It helps people. What gets me the most are kids who suffer from seizures. It’s so rough on their bodies to have to go through that—and it’s amazing how instantly the effects [of CBD] kick in. How can you not love a substance that does that?
And then there’s what it can do for cancer patients. I’ve watched Rick Simpson Oil keep my girlfriend’s dad alive. He has liver cancer. The doctors said he’d be dead by now, but he’s doing all right, and he’s well enough to grow his own plants in the back yard where they live.
I want to be part of this movement.
Big medicine thinks we’re so disconnected from nature that radiation and pharmaceuticals are better for us than something that comes from the earth. But nature always answers its own questions—like insects that adapt to fit a specific plant, and plants that adapt to those insects.
Cannabis is the most amazing, beautiful plant. It cures the ailment. Lifts the brain. It’s like a hug—it says ‘What’s up, buddy? How do you feel?’
‘I feel great, man.’
‘All right, let’s make some art.’