Vermont Statehouse with Lt Governor David Zuckerman
The Julie Fisheye Statehouse Story
The “roots” of the cannabis leaf statehouse picture (titled “Truly Greener Mountains”) began about 3 to 5 years ago when I decided to surrender my soul to my artistic passions. Two days before the “cannabis at the capitol 2017” event, I saw an ad on Facebook and something about that ad “spoke” to me telling me that I should go find a farmer and get some cannabis leaves to make a picture for the state building. My initial thought was to make a picture that would celebrate the legalization of marijuana in the State of Vermont. As a background to this decision, during my youth I experimented with marijuana but as an adult I chose not to use it until it became clear that it would provide me with relief from my debilitating health issues. My own personal experience is why I am now a strong supporter of using marijuana especially to alleviate the symptoms of serious medical conditions. I decided that one way I could express my beliefs in the benefits of the cannabis plant and hopefully convince others to recognize the same benefits that I now see was what inspired this picture. After a lot of thought and some research, I was able to find five famers who would supply me with leaves and this inspired me to begin this art project. Initially, when I received the first batch of leaves I needed to dry them before I could paint them but the original process I developed did not work out nor did the leaves look the way I wanted so I had to toss them. After a lot of trial and error, I finally found a drying technique that would work for my pictures. In 2018, a couple of the farmers that I had previously connected with allowed me free access to collect as many leaves as I needed from their properties. This allowed me to collect enough leaves so that I could experiment with putting together the final pictures. As my process with handling these leaves was where I wanted it to be in my mind my attention turned to the layout and details of the actual picture itself. I decided to use a cutout of the State of Vermont as the background hemp canvas on which to mount the leaves because that was the idea that channeled through me at the time. I also incorporated the number 9 in the leaf arrangement as a tribute to Vermont being the ninth state to legal marijuana.
At the beginning of this art project I sought community support for anything that would help me to put this picture together. As this project got underway, I asked a number of different businesses to donate materials to help with the construction of the picture including wood from a local sawmill as well as glass from a frame shop. Not all of the businesses that I contacted were willing to donate materials but some of the businesses did donate some of the “elements” of this picture including the leaves, the glass but I did the framing of the picture myself. In addition to some help with the materials for the picture, Heady Vermont did a lot of advertising of the picture prior to its unveiling and then the same company livestreamed the unveiling ceremony at the state capitol in April.
As the picture began to take shape, I realized that I knew nothing about the “marijuana scene” in Vermont or anywhere else for that matter. To overcome this, it was recommended that I contact the Lieutenant Governor David Zukerman because he has been involved in this issue for many years and has an extensive background in the cannabis industry in Vermont. Mr. Zuckerman agreed to write the dedication that appears in the picture and also agreed to hang the finished version in his office. In addition to honoring Mr. Zukerman, my intention was to have this picture become a permanent fixture within the state capitol, however, I became aware that there was a process that had to take place before this could become a reality. The picture was presented to Mr. Zukerman at a reception on April 19th, 2019. The picture will stay in the office of Mr. Zukerman until the curator of the state capitol & the panel decides whether it will be hung somewhere else permanently in the halls of the state building. In addition to presenting the picture to Mr. Zukerman, each of the five farmers as well as the “events” company received a smaller version of the picture as an acknowledgement of their contributions to the crafting of this artwork project.