Black & White
Craft Papers



My name is Nick Ambriz. I have lived in the California Central Valley all my life. You will be viewing my works, which date from 40 to 45 years ago. They comprise the following periods: The late 60's, on through the 70's, and on into the early 80's. During those periods, while creating works of marijuana art, and apart from going to college, I led a clandestine existence. Initially, to put myself through school, I sold pot to pay the bills and to buy my art materials. This later led me into the world of dealing larger amounts of marijuana, in what at that time, was an emerging illegal enterprise. The two worlds became entwined with each other. An artist paints what he sees and that was marijuana art.

My friends were other students, and also, people who dealt pot. Some of them were friends trying to start bands. Given that I was a fine art student, I always had a Canon camera with me. My friends, dealers, and such, got used to my presence with the camera. I would sit back and watch people engaged in their daily activities - particular activities associated with the early marijuana trade. Such as a scene of breaking kilos of pot, or working in a grow room. When I saw a view I liked, I would ask people to hold the 'pose,' and take a photo, capturing that moment.

That is the story which is told through my works of fine art. Piece by piece; a brief conversation captured; something illegal you aren't supposed to notice,; everything looks normal, but you know there's something you just don't see. I captured those moments in my art. Because my body of work tells a story, this does not exactly put me within the strict confines of a particular school of art, such as photorealism. The photorealism movement was picking up speed at that time. The totally of my work tells a story. Each piece draws you in, to search for the detail of the moment, and challenges you to become part of the piece. No matter what your feeling about marijuana, each piece can stand on it's own through the intrinsic worth of its creation.

Although I was part of the photorealistic style at the time, my principal artistic influences were Impressionists painters such as George Serat, Monet, Pizzaro, Goya, and Henri de Toulouse-Latrec, and others as well. While borrowing from the visual form of their works as an influence: I used their art as a catalyst into the method and exactitude of art, showing people a way of life they would never see, otherwise, during the course of everyday life. During the late 19th century, most people would never have seen the inside of a brothel. Toulouse-Latrec did. His affluent class of people rejected him because of his deformity, temperament, and his love of Absinthe. Yet others, whom, were likewise rejected by society, embraced him. As a tribute to those who valued his person, he painted their secret world. Gauguin captured life in Tahiti; Van Gogh expressed his world with his brilliant and tormented visions; and so followed Picasso with his various periods of expression. Each of them painted the clandestine, subterranean world of the absinthe drinkers.

That is what my art attempts to do: take you on a, step by step, piece-by-piece trip through the drug culture of the 60's to the 80's: To go on a marijuana deal. To take your best friend to jail, and ask him if you can use his car for 30 days to stash your stash in! Sit in on a conversation with the Artichoke Band while they take a few hits. Alternatively, you can go on a marijuana deal in Oakhurst, or help break down a few pounds of marijuana, and weigh it out...


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