On the eve of 4/20 street artist James Haunt set out for Venice Boulevard on one of his most ambitious projects yet: to complete an entire mural in one day. By nightfall the skyward-looking pink and blue visage of a woman, Fantasma, graced the exterior of The Pottery, a popular Mid-City dispensary.
"For years I've been painting this girl, and she's been this recurring theme in my artwork," Haunt told L.A. Weekly. For this particular mural Fantasma's gaze to the sky is "about looking above and ascending to this higher level of consciousness."
The installation perhaps represents the culmination of an artistic journey for Haunt, an L.A. native who got his start on the street walls and alleyways of Southern California. After navigating his way through the gritty world of graffiti culture — and a few run-ins with the law for his "beautification efforts" — he's managed to transcend the negative stigmas of street art and began to garner positive attention from companies, city officials and even the Los Angeles Police Department.
Now Haunt's art can be seen around the world in collaboration with brands like Nike, Porsche, Coachella, Red Bull and GoPro. In L.A. he is probably best known for his mural on the Sunset Strip’s Mondrian Hotel — his interpretation of the "L.A. Woman" — and his mural representing Lebron James' journey from the Cleveland Cavaliers to his first game with the Lakers.
The artist and dispensary agree this most recent project developed organically. "With James Haunt's vibes and his style, the collaboration really complements The Pottery well," said Nick Danias of The Pottery team. And it's true, the mural’s bright design pairs nicely with the pop art-inspired modernism of the dispensary's interior.
"It all came down to the guys at The Pottery allowing me to do my thing, and giving me creative freedom," said Haunt. "After vibing with the space and getting to know [the dispensary], I kind of just went with what I felt to be impactful for their space and brought out that vibrancy."
It was Haunt who decided he wanted to get the piece finished prior to the 4/20 holiday. In under a week he got a few sketches together and a couple days later he was putting the full-scale piece together.
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The Pottery prides itself for being one of the top spots in L.A. for new brands to come in and showcase new products, as well as its on-site cultivation. The mural provided the dispensary — which recently celebrated its anniversary at its current location after a move from North Hollywood and rebrand — with a brand-new background to welcome their cannabis holiday shoppers. Coupled with it’s open atmosphere space and techy, bright design customers of all levels of experience with cannabis can feel welcome. It’s the air of professionalism that many businesses strive for in the era of legal distribution.
But as large and impressive as this installation is this is just the beginning of the collaboration between Haunt and The Pottery. They have already started plans on to add two more murals within the month to the dispensary’s exterior walls. Working in conjunction with the branding and story of The Pottery, Haunt intends to bring in other characters and create a scene with a focus on community and an engagement between those of different walks of life, as well as spotlight plant life and earth-grown goods.
Head to The Pottery to see the work for yourself or check out Haunt’s social media for more of his work. For a recap of the installation, take a look at the video below.