In an insane world, cartoons tell the story fast and painlessly. No need to belabor the point when a full, rich graphic can cut to the chase.
Hempathy – Food for Thought, the premier compilation of Ivan Art’s Why? Why Not? strips, portrays a tale of cannabis dysfunction throughout the ages. Why an age-old plant treasured by so many is sidelined, and why the same harmless plant makes a good deal of sense are messages conveyed in humorous and poignant detail. Straightforward copy is cram-packed with tidbits about prohibition, pharmaceutical overload, a gun-crazed culture and environmental malaise.
Readers of Treating Yourself Magazine are familiar with Why? Why Not? comic strips encapsulating good and evil down to a color code of sinister shades of green, black and purple next to vibrant, joyous yellow, turquoise and pink. The artist’s intricate drawings bring to comical life an entire spectrum of events that are usually obscured by the complexities of life.
The delicate marijuana plant next to the fat and sassy legal pusher sporting a white lab coat emblazoned with pharmaceutical logos pretty much says it all. A greedy doctor with large gaping teeth is terrifically entertaining in the moment, whereas the fact that the number of Americans dying from prescription drug overdoses has tripled in the past 20 years is fodder for a longer tale at another time.
Delivering the essence of a situation in illustration, caricature and cartoon translates very well to the cannabis trade. As graphic designer of Treating Yourself, he’s overseen the creative design of 24 issues over four years, creating overall layout, cover art, comic strips, article artwork and advertisement graphics.
Ivan was the graphic designer for the CannaTrade.ch, the Swiss hemp fair, for a decade, and has also contributed for several years to the Italian magazine Dolce Vita and the Spanish publication of Canna Habla. His comic strips have been translated into Dutch, German, Italian and Spanish. He still enjoys meeting people and doing caricatures at fairs and other public events.
Ivan Art’s work is warm, lighthearted and humorous. Hempathy begins with a gleeful Thomas Jefferson dancing around with a bag of cannabis seeds next to his quote about its value to the country’s economy. The book ends with a plump and euphoric farmer running past a message about the need to promote the landslide of scientific research documenting the benefits of cannabis.
While Ivan is an occassional partaker of the recreational use of cannabis, he fully supports the idea of deregulation and the importance of medical cannabis in a world suffering from a reliance on pill popping.” It’s illogical that cannabis is still illegal in most parts of the world” he said. “I mean, nobody’s ever died from it, and that alone should be reason enough.