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Explore & Express Your Creative Potential: Utilizing Social Media to Build a Life You Love


Explore & Express

artwork by @durianaddict


I’m a firm believer that everyone has a gift worth sharing with the world. For some that path is clear, but I discovered mine through social media while documenting my journey as a cannabis grower. Instagram has become an incredible way to connect with like-minded members in every community, and a powerful tool and outlet for artistic expression. Once I realized this, I took full advantage, and in doing so became a published cannabis photographer, brand owner, and instagram “influencer” by complete accident. IG has given birth to a whole new generation of creatives, and I’m grateful to have met so many new friends who share a similar story. Through this article and the ones that follow I hope to share a bit of what I’ve learned, highlight a few success stories, and inspire those reading to further explore whatever it is that drives You! So please… kick back, spark somethin’ and enjoy!

In 2014, I started working in my first commercial grow facility. Grateful for the opportunity, I decided to offer a behind-the-scenes look to those who weren’t so fortunate. I wanted to bring a unique style and perspective to Instagram’s rapidly growing cannabis community, so I combined my love for music and medicine to create @hip2thecrop. Through trial and error, my photos started improving, especially thanks to the instant feedback I received from likes, comments and messages. I became fascinated with finding new ways to capture this amazing plant, and before long my photos were being discovered and re-circulated by cannabis accounts across IG. As my following grew, I caught the attention of pages like High Times Magazine, and it became very clear that I was indeed on the right path. It’s an amazing feeling when something you do out of love gains attention and appreciation, and the more I felt, the more it pushed me to continue moving forward. Suddenly, I found a fresh sense of purpose as I joined an army of other cannabis creatives who were discovering their own talents as well.

Angus_RhizoResearch

I’ve always loved art and taking pictures, but never thought it’d become a point of focus in my life. I was just a grower with an iPhone who decided to take photography more seriously when people started asking which camera lenses I used. This realization became blatantly obvious soon after receiving a comment on one of my photos two years ago. The comment read “can you send me this photo?” To which I jokingly replied, “can you send me some money?” Little did I know, I was responding to Green Candy Press, the publisher of a well-known book called The Cannabis Grow Bible … and they wanted to feature my photos in their newest edition! One year later, the book was released with 22 of my pictures, and to my surprise, they even dedicated a full two-page spread to 12 of my most viral nug shots! I state these accomplishments not to brag, but simply to show that it doesn’t always matter which tools you use to create things… what matters is that you keep on creating, and allow others a chance to experience and appreciate your work! You never know what may come of it!

MonsterCookies_RhizoResearch

The thought of becoming a published photographer finally pushed me to purchase a Nikon, and immediately I fell in love with macro photography. I was still taking photos in the garden, but close-up nug shots were always a favorite and a great way to showcase a grower’s hard work. While slowly learning to use my new camera, I was quickly bored by the plain look of black and white backgrounds, so I decided to get more creative with my product shots. Cannabis strains have some unique names these days, so I started buying small props off Amazon to fit each theme – a wedding cake topper for Wedding Cake, a cookie monster figurine for Monster Cookies, and even a miniature cow for a delicious Durban Poison cross called Angus. Those macro photos became some of my most prized pieces of art, and were so well received that I now sell them as canvas prints!

MF Doobi

Lego Doom Overlooking Arrowhead Lakes PHOENIX, ARIZONA


My audience was growing bigger than I’d ever imagined, so during a few job transitions, I leaned to macro and nature photography to keep the content flowing. I started visiting more dispensaries for the best looking nugs I could find, so I could photograph and show love to their products. I then rolled those nugs into wax-covered joints, and climbed mountains just to capture them in front of Arizona’s beautiful landscapes and sunsets. This resulted in some fun hikes, great views and a unique way to gain their attention… and I’m excited to continue working with some of these dispensaries and touring their grows! By promoting local brands, it seemed to have a snowball effect because cannabis companies across the globe wanted me to include their products into my garden and lifestyle photos. I became a brand ambassador for a few companies this way, and was especially grateful when ProGrowTech asked me to rep their LED company after they fell in love with my photos that featured their grow lights! Is this what it meant to be a “social media influencer?” I’ve always disliked using this term, especially in regards to myself… but hey let’s face it… with it being so hard to advertise in our industry, Instagram “influencers” have become a powerful new marketing tool for many canna brands. But that’s another article in itself!

AlienOG_RhizoResearch

Realizing that my following now carried some weight, I knew it was time to use my reach to spread something positive. After living in a medical state and working in the industry a few years, I was no stranger to the benefits of cannabis. I knew friends who watched family members suffer from things like cancer and epilepsy, and then witnessed those same tumors and seizures disappear once cannabis oil was introduced. In many cases, this plant is a much better alternative to pharmaceuticals, and recently I even met a heroin survivor who contributes his monumental progression and overall existence to this plant. Clearly it’s helping people and saving many lives, but it’s unfortunate that these truths have been silenced for so long. To help bring some awareness to the world, I decided to use my platform to start a “Plants Over Pills” movement. I reached out to my talented friend @durianaddict who had just re-discovered her passion for drawing, and she brought my vision to life. While I’ve probably given out more shirts than I’ve sold, this message has been an incredible conversation starter and to me that’s worth way more than any currency. It’s amazing to hear the success stories that others have been approached with while wearing my shirts, and crazy to think that all this stemmed from sharing a few pictures on Instagram!

There are many different types of content creators out there, but we all have one thing in common – we all found things we love doing, and share those things with the world. Some of us are artists, some are photographers… some enjoy making people laugh through videos and skits, and some just love to smoke and connect with others who share their same passion for the plant. Instagram has become an incredible vehicle for self-expression and great way to connect with one another, even for the most introverted people like myself. It’s helped many of us to create more happiness and opportunities for ourselves than we’d ever dreamed of, and I wish those same things for you all. I know many talented people out there who deserve to be noticed, and I believe anyone can build a great platform for themselves if they put in the work. I realize not everyone wants to be an artist, musician, fitness realtor, or content creator – and that’s fine. But for those still seeking a greater purpose in life, I urge you to start using social media to your advantage. Do more things you enjoy and find more like-minded friends to support and rise up with, because there’s never been a better time to be You!

Special Thanks to artist @durianaddict. For her Website, Click here.

Explore & Express

For more articles by @Hip2theCrop, click here.

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