How Cannabis Has Influenced an Artist’s Life and Work, Resulting in Timeless Masterpieces
Daniel Bilmes is a twenty-seven-year-old, contemporary artist based in Los Angeles, CA. He is best known for his delicate, yet complex portrait paintings. Bilmes also happens to be in a healthy and committed relationship with his muse, cannabis sativa.
Hailing from Ashland, OR, Daniel was raised in his father’s art studio and began his artistic career at the ripe age of eight. Daniel began teaching at The Ashland Academy of Art when he was fifteen, and later relocated to Hawaii where he taught at the classically based, independent art school Atelier Maui.
His work is reminiscent of 19th century classic artists like Rembrandt and Repin, but Daniel claims to gather inspiration from his greatest teacher: his father Semyon Bilmes, a painter from the Soviet Union. Daniel’s paintings capture the essence of human form in repose, igniting a feeling of deep introspection and self-discovery in each piece. While straying away from the idea of trying to encapsulate a style or theme within his art, Daniel breaks down and deconstructs each painting and focuses on the texture and rhythm of his work.
What could assist in such profound absorption of one’s own undertaking? Cannabis, of course! Daniel first began smoking as a sleep aide. Struggling with insomnia, he started using cannabis to help him relax. He then proceeded to use cannabis on a more consistent basis, which he has since incorporated into his art routine.
When asked how his cannabis use contributes to his art, he stated that it assists in detail oriented work, and helps him zoom in and focus on the smaller areas of a painting or drawing he is working on. Daniel starts every new piece influence free. However, once he finds his tempo, he will take a few hits of an elevating sativa or sativa dominant hybrid such as Lavender Haze or Fire OG, giving him an entirely new perspective of his work.
Throughout the years, Daniel claims that he has evolved as an artist such that he has become more self-aware, and has gained the ability to analyze his own aesthetic; a transition from conceptualizing a piece, to actively producing it. He has a clear view of expectations from his art, and where he wants to take it. He has already made a lasting impression on the contemporary art community.
When asked about a favorite piece of his own work, he shared with us Ascend Into The Unknown. Here we see a portrait of a girl surrounded by a flock of crows as she looks skyward. This particular piece represents “taking flight” and conveys an emotion, or absence thereof, that gives this painting a deep sense of mystery. This was Daniel’s first piece in which he fully confronted and grasped and emotion, as opposed to storytelling.
Looking to the future, Daniel will be releasing many new pieces at his upcoming art show, “Three Under Thirty.” The show features works from two other young budding artists in the area. The show will be set in Los Angeles, on July 15, at The Culver Hotel.
To see more of Daniel’s work follow him on Instagram @bilmesart or check out his website www.danielbilmes.com.