Madelyn Olson is an artist that primarily creates in Procreate or on paper with ink & watercolor.” I’ve been creating since I could hold a pencil in my tiny little hand. To me, artistic expression is one of the best things to exist. I hope to both create & admire it all till it hurts. When I’m not creating and admiring creation, I like to eat, hang out with my dog, laugh at silly things with my friends and frolic around outside in the sun.” We are so excited to team up with her, and include some of her amazing designs in the 4/20 Merch Launch Collection!
Madelyn attributes her artistic nature to her home and childhood. “I’ve always been artistic, and was raised in a very creative household so I’m not sure I can really place what exactly ignited that other than my upbringing in general. I didn’t start taking it seriously until I was about 18 or 19 and I think it had a lot to do with where I was in my life as a new ‘adult’ trying to figure out my place in the world and how I’d best fit into it. I had a friend that I will forever give the credit to for encouraging me to put myself out there and make it a sort of gig for myself. Without that relationship in my life, I honestly don’t think I would’ve had the same journey at all as an artist!”
It was around the same time that she started seriously pursuing art, that Virgin Art was conceptualized. “ I actually had another friend come up with the name Virgin Art years ago (around 18-19 as well). I feel like it ultimately doesn’t have a lot to do with my work but I do like the juxtaposition of virginity/purity with art that is often pretty provocative and weird. “
Madelyn finds inspiration in the broad spectrum of human emotion. “I hear a lot that my art captures a certain sadness at times. I’m inspired by women and the imperfections that come with having a human body as a woman in the world! I think a lot of my motivation comes from portraying women in all those imperfections, being moody, angsty, flirty, whatever the heck they wanna be.” Love it!
She describes her style of art as ‘girls with extra parts’, “because they often have an extra eye or something.” Madelyn found that exploring comics and graphic novels as an artist have been really transformative for her. “I love being able to tell stories with the things I create. I’ve been an admirer of comics for a while now and when I had the realization that ‘hey, I could do this, too’, it really changed my trajectory as an artist and gave it a lot more meaning to me.”
We are so happy that she did dive into the world of graphic novels, and we love following Amelia on all of her adventures. “Amelia represents someone who is spiritually lost and seeking herself. I think we’ve all had moments like those so I sort of channel my related experiences through her as a character. She is hot-headed and stubborn but also very sensitive and emotional. To me, she represents someone navigating their own pain and all the messiness that entails. She is also a canna-enthusiast! ;-)”. If you want to learn more, well you have to read the comic to find out!
We love the trippy and colorful illustrations that Madelyn creates in such an expressive way. She loves being able to pour herself into an outlet through her art. “I think it’s so important for everyone to have SOME way to express themselves, to channel and process emotions, to create something that’s never existed before. I feel like I would lose my mind if I didn’t have art.”
For anyone just starting on their artistic adventure, Madelyn recommends finding what feels good. “I definitely think that starting out as an artist is very daunting - especially when it comes to finding a style that feels right to you. I would encourage anyone to explore their options and to be easy on themselves and what they produce. You don’t have to love every single thing you create - the important part is that you’re creating and fine-tuning your unique style along the way. If you want to smoke a couple of joints before doing so, even better, probably. I’ve had so many fun creative ideas while stoned! Even if I didn’t like them as much in the sober light of the next day, it’s an important tool in getting your wheels turning in the first place!”
Like many of us, Madelyn was introduced to cannabis in high school. “I was an avid pot-smoker when I was in high school so that was how I was introduced to it and boy did I go crazy! However, as an adult, I’ve definitely gotten more into CBD or hemp products, mainly to help with my anxiety.”
Along with a shift in consumption preference, she has had shifts in the way that she views cannabis and the cannabis community. “I think when I was first getting into it, I had this idea that using cannabis in any way put you into a sort of sub-category of people - with a stigma of being lazy, unproductive, dumb, etc. While it definitely is still a bit of a counterculture, it’s become so normalized in a way that’s really awesome to see, especially when it comes to proving those stereotypes wrong and showing how beneficial cannabis can be in more ways than what people expect. Growing up, I definitely encountered canna-enthusiasts that didn’t quite fit the mold of what I thought people in the community would look/act/be like but I see it so much more these days and it’s so refreshing to know that we are breaking stigmas every day and finally normalizing something that is 100% normal and natural and incredibly good for us in a myriad of ways.”
Her current favorite products are CBD-based, “I love me some CBD joints and tinctures! I also have a great cannabis Sativa seed cleanser from Kiehls that I love (and some other skin-care products, too!).”
Madelyn is excited about the possibilities that can come from the legalization and normalization of cannabis in society. “ I think it’s such a great tool for opening people up and allowing them to become lighter and more sensitive versions of themselves. I think the development of cannabis products can help a lot with people AND the planet and I’m really excited to see where that takes us.” While she strongly believes in normalizing cannabis, she speaks to some of the changes that need to happen before normalization can be reached in a complete way. “l don’t think we can adequately do so without acknowledging the estimated 40,000 people currently incarcerated for related charges, disproportionately people of color. I encourage everyone to do their part in researching criminal justice reform and donating to causes (such as The Weldon Project) that aim to spread awareness and help those serving time for crimes related to cannabis.” We could not agree more.
When it comes to what's next for Madelyn there are some exciting things in the works! “ I am nearing the release of my second comic project - a collection of stories surrounding LUV, very LGBT+ friendly. Details pending but it’s been a long time coming and I’m so excited!” We can’t wait!
Stay tuned to see Madelyn's colorful & trippy designs in the StoStonedCo 4/20 Merch Launch! To learn more about Madelyn and Virgin Art please follow her on Instagram @virgin.art and check out her site https://virginartillustrations.com/.