With summer travel plans in jeopardy and more time at home staring at your walls than ever, adding new artwork is one way to find a fresh perspective. Enter Goldleaf, a boutique printing company for the cannabis community known for its thoughtfully designed patient journals, recipe cards, grow planners and graphic prints.
Founder Charles McElroy has unveiled Goldleaf’s debut “Cannabis Travel Art Print Series” — a collaboration with award-winning artists Nicholas Moegly, Eugenia Mello and John Vogl — to showcase the myriad of cannabis attributes, microclimates, grow styles and cultures within the United States.
McElroy commissioned each designer to visualize their own take on five regions: Colorado for its embrace of technological innovation; Oregon for its removal of barriers to entry for individual growers; Northern California for its environmentally-sensitive cannabis production methods; and Southern California for its inclusive industry practices and promotion of social justice within the cannabis space.
“I was really inspired by the vintage lithographic style travel prints that were popular in the early to middle 20th century,” McElroy shared with me via email. “Being a Cincinnati native, I would frequent the Taft Museum of Art, which has an amazing permanent collection of this type of work [most of the lithographic prints from the late 1800s to mid-1900s were produced in Cincinnati]. I wanted to find artists who were accomplished in this style and could not only make something beautiful, but integrate cannabis in a subtle and tasteful way.”
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Still based in Cincinnati, McElroy founded Goldleaf in 2016, “with a goal to normalize the subject of cannabis, and create helpful tools for people who wanted to better understand the plant,” he said.
After stepping away from an organic clothing company he helped create, McElroy maintained his minimalistic aesthetic — influenced by Danish modern design — and translated it to cannabis.
“I had never seen anything in cannabis associated with that sort of look. I thought that by presenting our work in a way that married design and mature content, it would make the topic [of cannabis] more accessible to people who might have reservations,” added McElroy. “The subject can be polarizing, especially in places like the Midwest, so presenting our work with a science-forward voice and digestible design principles was a disarming way to highlight the world of cannabis.”
Each edition is printed on uncoated, Forest Stewardship Council-certified archival paper and is available in two sizes (18 x 24” and 24 x 36”) with the option of adding on handmade Goldleaf hanging rails in walnut or maple. Goldleaf has also created four limited-edition, signed versions that are being donated to the Last Prisoner Project for auction, while 10% of all “Cannabis Travel Art Print Series” proceeds go to the nonprofit organization, which fights cannabis criminal injustice.
Also a longtime cannabis activist vocal for veteran access to medical cannabis, McElroy first learned about the history of marijuana in high school, admittedly “trying it a few years later” during his time studying engineering technology at Ohio University. He has since dedicated thousands of volunteer hours to organizations from Ohio NORML to the Marijuana Policy Project.
“My work with those organizations was modest and entry level, and I remember feeling frustrated that I couldn’t do more. It took some time, but I eventually found a way I could uniquely help move the needle in a positive direction. That was Goldleaf,” said McElroy.