Cliff Maynard's Roach Paper Art is Genius
Inside the head of the man who makes incredible mosaics out of joint roaches.
Published on May 24, 2016

Hailing from Vancouver, Washington, Cliff Maynard's distinctive brand of art has caught the attention of cannabis enthusiasts around the globe.

His mosaics incorporate the use of found objects. His medium of choice? Roaches aka the cigarette butt of the joint

He calls it, “Recycling on a higher level.”

Maynard has done renditions of icons in the cannabis industry, the ones who you'd expect — Cheech & Chong, Jerry Garcia, Bob Marley, and Snoop Dogg. His business Chronic Art features his collection of joint mosaics on mugs, prints, iPhone cases, giclée's and originals.

The detail is incredible.

Watch Cliff creating “Red Headed Stranger,” a portrayal of Willie Nelson, which is made entirely out of roaches. Maynard has gone from starving art student and tattoo artist to an artist that isn't afraid to utilize cannabis in his art—literally. Cliff's operation has grown and he now separates roaches in preparation according to hue and shade.

His work has been featured in various cannabis events including Seattle's Hempfest.

MERRY JANE: Your work has been praised by Tommy Chong, Mark Emery and Todd McCormick. How did you get into roach paper art?

Cliff Maynard: It all started many years ago when I was a student at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh. Ironically, I was assigned to apartment number 420 in the school-sponsored housing program. My roommate at the time and I were attempting to create a fifth generation joint by saving our roaches and using them to roll a second generation joint then third generation, and so on. For some reason I would save the used papers. One day in art history class our assignment was to create a mosaic from bits of colored paper and I decided to try it using the roach papers I had apparently been saving for just that purpose.

MJ: How did you get involved with Hempfest?

CM: I was attending a NORML rally in Berkeley, California when I was approached by the legendary Vivian McPeak about doing a special project for Seattle Hempfest. It was a great honor to be involved with Hempfest and has opened numerous doors for me in the cannabis community.

MJ: Do you believe the mosaic is a lost art form?

CM: Possibly—not lost, but defiantly underrated. I'm certainly doing my best to keep it alive!

MJ: I was impressed with the detail you've done, such as recreating the Declaration of Independence. How do you get such fine details using only brown, monochromatic colors?

CM: By using an X-acto knife and a whole lot of patience! Fine details such as lettering or other "lines" are created by cutting tiny strips from the darkest pieces of my roach papers.

MJ: You're able to render the likeness of people's faces using only roaches. How long does a piece take?

CM: When I first started it seemed like each piece took forever. Due to improvements in my process (such as pre-sorting my tones and values) I have it down to anywhere from 15 to 25 hours.

MJ: Smoke/Vape/Dab?

CM: I literally named my dog Dab so... Dab.

MJ: The DEA has hinted at looking at rescheduling cannabis on a federal level. Do you support descheduling cannabis altogether?

CM: Absolutely! Any right-minded person can see that it has medical uses at the very least, and almost no harmful effects at all. Tobacco, alcohol—even caffeine—are all legal and are all far worse for you than cannabis. It's a crime that even one person is serving time for cannabis use!

MJ: Does cannabis aid in the creative process?

CM:  I think cannabis aids in pretty much all creative processes. It definitely does in mine.

Watch Cliff on his YoutTube: 

Benjamin M. Adams
Benjamin Adams is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in a slew of publications including CULTURE, Cannabis Now Magazine, and Vice. Follow Ben on Twitter @BenBot11
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