An Interview with Emily Eizen Pt. 1
This week, we talked with photographer, painter, sculptor, model, designer, and cannabis advocate Emily Eizen about where she finds inspiration, how cannabis plays a role in her creative process, and how she found herself in this ever-growing industry.
KP: Emily, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me today. We’ve been so excited to talk with you since you shot for Eufloria this Spring. Those images were incredible, so thank you again.
EE: Of course.
KP: We’ll get right into it if that’s alright with you.
EE: Sounds good, I’m ready.
KP: Alright. Well, to start, where do you find inspiration?
EE: I find a lot of inspiration from queer icons in the 60s and 70s, and even up to today. Artists like Andy Warhol and Keith Haring. There are so many artists and pioneers in the community that have really shaped my style over the years. I really draw inspiration from a lot of different things, but most importantly I try to keep myself inspired through my own work and staying true to who I am.
KP: What would you consider your style today?
EE: I think I always kind of have a retro style and feel to my work, but I'm definitely exploring different aesthetics all the time.
KP: You’re a cannabis advocate, so it seems obvious that weed would play an important role in the art you create. But can you speak more about how it plays a role in your creative process?
EE: Well, I'm an everyday smoker these days–or at least most days. So, I would say that it definitely plays a role when it comes to my creative process and getting into a flow. I incorporate it into the ideating process for sure. But sometimes I'm doing things that are so technical and I have to be on high alert, so I'll wait until after those things to have a celebratory joint. So, it really depends on what I'm doing.
KP: So, you use it, but only at certain times throughout the process then?
EE: Yeah, exactly. It's kind of on a case-by-case basis, but most of the time I do incorporate cannabis in some form in my creative process, whether it's in the beginning or the end.
KP: That makes sense. Sometimes I think people don't realize that artists aren’t just creating all the time–they’re doing other things behind the scenes like planning big projects, writing invoices, ordering equipment, or getting ready for major events, as you say the more “technical things”.
KP: So, how do you get in your flow? And, if you’re not in the mood and need to tune in, how do you get there?
EE: I have this saying that goes, it's time to take control of my day. I like to enter some kind of meditation or quick yoga flow–something that focuses on my breath. And in terms of motivation, I think setting rewards and attainable goals for myself is essential. But yeah, I mean you touched on it, it's definitely a grind. Sometimes you literally just have to do shit, you know? And you really have to be an advocate for yourself all the time. If you're not advocating for yourself to yourself, then you're not going to do it with others. So, for me, it’s about holding myself accountable and trying to be better every day.
In terms of getting into an artistic flow, if I have to create and I don't feel inspired, cannabis definitely ignites that creativity for me. I mean when I first started it was literally like the spark that reignited my creativity.
KP: Can you tell me more about that experience?
EE: Yeah, so I had never smoked weed throughout high school. I just wasn’t really interested in it. It wasn't even on my radar at that time. I wasn’t truly introduced to cannabis until I was a freshman in college when I lived in DC. I was going to school for political science and was doing a lot of queer advocacy work through the student organization. I actually got to meet with President Obama and Bernie Sanders and all these people at the time. I was kind of making my way through that DC activist world, but I was so depressed.
And I think it was because art had always been my escape when I was a kid. Art was my safe place. I literally like ate lunch in the art room every day in middle school and high school. But towards the end of high school, I put it on the back burner and got really into activism and politics and worked on trying to make a difference in a traditional sense by going to DC, but like I said I was just so depressed. I was incorporating zero creativity into my life at the time. Then, my best friend introduced me to cannabis. We would have these smoke sessions in our bathroom, and it literally opened up my entire mind and consciousness again to everything that I was passionate about. That was the moment when I decided to drop out and move back home. Eventually, I ended up where I am now. I definitely worked my way through the ranks of the cannabis space. I’ve been in this industry since pre-legalization, so it's definitely been a long road to where I am today.
KP: Wow, that’s quite an inspiring story.
EE: Thank you.
KP: So, would you say that was your fondest memory of smoking weed? Or at least, the one that left the greatest impact on you?
EE: Definitely. That’s when everything in my life changed in terms of me being so much freer mentally. It really helped with the depression and made me feel more creative and inspired and maybe even a little more confident in my decision to leave DC.
KP: Yeah, it sounds like a crazy journey from where you started to where you are today. It’s so inspiring. I mean, obviously, you didn’t just snap your fingers, and everything suddenly fell into place. It took a lot of hard work. And it's cool that you changed paths and were able to find success in what you really wanted to do, or rather merge all your passions into one ultimate career.
EE: Yeah, thank you. I really tried to forge my own path and find a niche and a community. And by no means did I do it alone, you know, I’ve had so many great mentors and people along the way who have given me opportunities and set me on a trajectory. So, I'm very grateful to be where I am now.
KP: That’s awesome. Now, this is a bit of a diversion but I have to ask you, what’s your sign?
EE: Oh gosh. I'm a Leo, obviously.
KP: Ah, my sister’s a Leo! They’re the best.
EE: Yeah, they’re pretty great. I always peak during Leo season. It’s always such a glow-up for those few months.
KP: Do you know your rising or moon signs?
EE: Yeah, they’re actually both Virgo. Which is probably why I'm, for lack of a better word, anal. Everything I do, even in my work, I feel like I'm my worst inner critic. And I don't really act that way towards other people, only towards myself. The Virgo is always in the background, but the Leo is the brand.
KP: Leos can be very critical of themselves too, though. Always striving for perfection. That’s really interesting that you have those three signs. One of my closest friends who's a successful working artist is a Capricorn. She has Aries and Pisces too, but I feel like her Capricorn keeps her grounded and focused. That earth sign is important. I feel like your Virgo has helped you get this far. Well, your community and your Virgo.
EE: Yeah exactly, thank you. I actually have the same birthday as Andy Warhol and Lucille Ball, which is kind of cool. She’s a redhead and he’s an artist that turned his work into a business and a brand and that’s what I’ve done and am doing, so it's all very relevant, I think.
KP: Yeah, of course. I love it when I notice those connections in my life. It feels like you're on the right track. It's like, yeah this is meant to be.
EE: Yeah, exactly.