In recent years, @Cannabiscapes creator Greg Welch had become one of cannabis’s premier traveling artists, and as the world continues to open back up, he’s ready to link back up with the event circuit.
Welch’s work using cannabis as a medium to create portraits and logos for celebrities and some of the biggest names in the game took him to the mountaintop where he became one of the most recognizable artists affiliated with the west coast cannabis scene.
It wasn’t always that way. Prior to laying all his chips down to make it out to the Emerald Cup in 2018, Welch was trapped in the corporate software world.
“Since the Emerald Cup, and getting a taste of the real California culture, I’ve been out here. I’ve pretty much not been stationary for anything more than like two or three weeks at a time,” Welch told L.A. Weekly.
Welch would eventually move his base of operations to Oregon, but he’d find himself spending the vast majority of his time on the road in California traveling from event to event. As he continued to become a regular face in the community, it opened doors for him to start to experience the cultivation side of things firsthand by spending as much time on the road as possible.
“Especially in California, there’s so much to see and it’s so varying,” Welch said. “I started spending more time with farmers. I only got that invite by being at an Emerald Cup, seeing people that I’ve worked with face to face, and seeing them again at Hall the Flowers. Then it was that fall after the second Hall the Flowers that I started spending a lot more time on farms. And that just kept me on the road because I realized how little I knew.”
On those earliest adventures on the road, people tended to fall into one of two camps. Those who were looking to tap in on Cannabiscapes digital presence and on the other side of the fence, those just generally looking to share their cannabis experiences and stories with people. The latter of the two was exactly who Welch was looking to highlight to the tens of thousands following his art adventures.
“Once I started to get a little bit of momentum with that, it was farmers introducing me to farmers introducing me to farmers and everybody was really really good people,” Welch said. “And so it made it really easy to stay on the road and to trust that the people that were inviting me in were going to continue to provide me with dope education and lessons. I pull from those early experiences still.”
He went from a road warrior artist to a capable set of hands for a lot of the general work you see on a cannabis farm when it comes to tending the garden and keeping it clean so plants can thrive. We asked Welch when he went from a tourist to a worker. He argued he is close to being that this season.
“Last year I was super clunky, really passive when it comes to working with the plant,” Welch told us. “Coming from the consumer side of it, everything was so delicate and then you get somewhere where they’re doing it at scale. And just brushing buds out of the way as they’re walking through. That took me some time to get used to in terms of how each farmer tends to their plants. Right now, I’d say I’ve participated in every step, to the point where I’m not going to screw anything up really badly in terms of transplanting, deleafing, putting up a trellis, stuff like that.”
Welch’s wandering adventurer status provided a perfect temporary set of hands. A lot of farmers will keep a very minimal staff outside the harvest season when they bring on more staff to process and then trim the fields. As little things popped up on his travels, he could help out the shorthanded farmers and learn about what he was doing in the process.
We asked Welch if he ever expected to become so submerged in his subject matter.
“The path really revealed itself as I’ve taken each additional step and a lot of the preconceived notions and plans that I had have been completely upended,” Welch said. “Some things due to COVID, others, it was just due to learning and getting redirected on the path that made more sense. But in terms of getting this close to this many people who have had such an impact on cannabis and on the industry, I never imagined this.”