Cliff Maynard’s roach paper art gives a whole new meaning to the catchphrase “recycle, reduce, reuse.” The artist, originally from Pittsburgh, uses old roach papers to create incredibly detailed and stunning mosaics.
He came up with the idea while a he was a starving art student at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. For one of his classes, he was given the assignment to create a mosaic using cut up magazines.
To give him a little creative inspiration, he decided to start the project with a little smoke sesh.
He began opening up his stash of old roaches to cobble together as much of a joint as he could. At that moment inspiration struck.
“I had no money for anything, so I broke open my roaches—because in that situation you save your roaches until you have no pot and then you smoke them,” Maynard said.
“And on one side of me are these magazine clippings, and on the other side are bits and pieces of joints. It was like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup moment, where I looked and was like, ‘Hey, chocolate! Hey, peanut butter! Yum!'”
The idea took off from there.
He started cutting, tearing, and trimming old roach papers and arranging the shreds of paper to create incredible images. Sometimes he stacked bits of papers up on top of each other to create different shades and colors.
The result of all this cutting and stacking is a series of truly one of a kind mosaics.
Many of his mosaics are images of cannabis culture icons: Bob Marley, Snoop Dogg, John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, and more.
He’s also made pictures of other well-known people—his very first roach paper mosaic was an image of Jesus.
And his collection is rounded out with other scenes depicting everything from skeletons descending on the White House to scenes celebrating the advancements of the marijuana legalization movement.
Maynard’s work has gotten some attention within the cannabis community, and his art has been on display at a handful of marijuana festivals and activist events.
But he hopes to take his work to the next level and would love to see his mosaics displayed in art galleries.
“It’s been my experience that in the marijuana sector, it’s really hard to make money as an artist,” he explained.
“People at festivals, they’ll say ‘Oh, that’s really cool’—but then they spend their money on pipes and things. I want this to be considered serious art.”