Katie Guinn is a multidisciplinary creative: a writer, fashion designer, visual artist, and educator. We asked her some questions recently about her artistic process, creativity, spirituality, and her connection to cannabis.
In The Stoner Babes Coloring Book, Portland, Oregon author and illustrator Katie Guinn examines stoner-culture by centering on women and non-binary people. Guinn’s babes are racially diverse, and varied body types are portrayed lovingly. And, each babe is oh-so-much more than a muse. On the back of each coloring-page portrait, the word empowerment is defined by “Stoner Babes.” Reading their words is a call-to-action.
Each page features a line-drawn stoner in their natural element. Reclining, smoking. Relaxed in an armchair. She is daydreaming. Pages turn. A woman with a vivacious afro plays a keyboard. I imagine the music she’s making, the visions she has. Nighttime stars swell around sumptuous bare breasts, framed with roses. It’s intoxicating…
Swirling marijuana leaves encircle their bodies. A woman exhales dogwood blossoms. I feel like the woman I color: A woman with stars in her eyes.
JL: What is the best place to be while stoned?
KG: The best place to be is the woods and by the ocean, always. When I can’t be there I like to be in my backyard in my flower garden. When I can’t be there— because of winter— I like to be in my home. But, mostly when I’m inside and high, I clean like a mad-woman.
What’s the best idea you’ve had while high?
Many of my poems are written when I’m stoned. I can access parts of myself through words in entirely new ways while in that state. I find threads that connect certain ideas, metaphors, experiences, and ways… I write a lot of notes for visual art ideas when I’m stoned.
How is weed part of your daily life as an artist?
When I can be alone and get deep into painting while stoned, some of my best work Manifests. I don’t partake every time I make art, or even every day. I take a hit 70% ish of the time.
What is your favorite method of getting high?
Vaping or smoking.
Favorite strains of weed?
Do you have any rituals involving weed and self-care? If so, what are they?
I love to go for walks after taking a hit, and inhaling the beauty of the world instead of the horrific news and experiences that I’ve been absorbing all day.
Tell me about your creative process.
Usually, I write notes and poems and sketches to record ideas. Sometimes it takes several tries to get it right, and other times, it just works immediately. My visual art inspires words through poetry and vise/versa, so when I’m in that full creative mode, I go back and forth and it feeds itself, it’s beautifully and satisfyingly cyclical.
What personal and/or spiritual needs does making art satisfy?
When my art impacts other people and makes them feel seen and heard, that is so rewarding and beautiful.
How do you stay motivated?
I have to express myself to feel normal. Collaboration motivates me, feedback motivates me, my daughters motivate me just by existing. Being hungry for justice, equality, and equity motivates me. I want my art to say something. I know my art, my book won’t change the world, but if it changes one mind slightly, that is a step in the right direction. I acknowledge my white privilege and I have a responsibility to help amplify the voices of my friends, and those I don’t know, who I care deeply about. I don’t take credit for any of that. I hope to be a vehicle of their stories, not a teller of their stories, because only they can be the narrator.
Any advice on nurturing creativity?
I have a pact with myself that I will make art every day. Now, I don’t always stick to this because it’s sometimes impossible, but if I have an idea, I take the time to record it. The more I make myself make art, the more naturally it manifests. As a working mother, my time is quite valuable because I have very little of it on my own to nurture myself and my art. I’m not hard on myself if I go a few days without writing or painting, but I begin to feel restless and irritable if too many days pass without making something new. I surround myself with other artists, writers and designers—mostly women—a community that’s supportive. I strongly believe that if one has support and nurturing in their intimate circle, it’s our responsibility to seek others who may not, and help support them.
How do you give back?
I work with kids and make a genuine effort to connect to each and every one I interact with. I volunteer, as well as teach art with the after-school program. I reach-out to the kids who are sensitive and hold pain on their shoulders. I donate a portion of all my profits to various organizations, including The Future Project, Stop Handgun Violence, The ACLU, and RAICES.
What do you want to do next?
I want justice. I also really would love to have a gallery show.
Anything else I should know?
I’m an Aquarian, Gemini Moon, Aquarius rising, and Aquarius in Venus.