Murals, tattoos and a singular vision: Meet the artist collaborating with Veritas on a new mural in Denver’s RiNo Arts District.
Denver artist Jher is truly a one-of-a-kind talent.
Over the course of his 30+ year career, his various areas of focus have included graffiti, tattooing (he’s a co-owner of Denver’s Landmark Tattoo), canvas work, music production, rapping and illustration.
With such a deep well of creativity to draw from, we knew Jher would be the perfect person for Veritas to collaborate with on a new, large-scale mural located in Denver’s RiNo Arts District as Veritas does our part to make the city a little brighter.
Taking a break from this sizable work in progress, Jher shares the inside story on his background, the role cannabis plays in his own life and offers a sneak preview of what fans can expect to see when this new canna-collaborative project is unveiled.
You work across a number of creative modes. What came first, graffiti or tattoos?
Graffiti definitely came first and that’s how I got into tattooing. I started painting graffiti in 1991, and that led to opportunities to paint legally at places like hip-hop shops, liquor stores—basically anyone that would let us paint. That was when I began to incorporate more characters and backgrounds into my work, so people wouldn’t look at it as “just graffiti.” Then a tattoo shop called Twisted Sol hired me to do a mural in their store and one of the owners asked me to do an apprenticeship. This was in 1999. Tattooing taught me more about compositions and art history. It taught me to refine my work more and use references.
Are tattoos and graffiti your two main areas of focus?
I also do a lot of canvas work, I produce music and I do illustrations for people. I do all types of art. While I wouldn’t call myself an emcee, I’ve been rapping for as long as I’ve been tattooing. My rap name is Self-Similar; it’s an homage to the similar patterns we see in nature.
How would you describe your aesthetic?
I don’t have that brand-name recognizability that some artists do because I don’t necessarily stick to one thing. I have so many influences, and it’s so versatile, that I can’t really say I do illustrative stuff or portrait stuff or hot-rod stuff, because there’s little elements of all that in my work.
What have you learned as a result of working as a professional artist?
Every artist is their own worst critic. I have pieces that are already bought and paid for that I’m just sitting on because I’m not done with them. Sometimes you’ll just hit a wall, so you stop and say “I fucking hate this thing.” But that’s the tricky part of being a pro: Being able to walk away without overworking something.
How did you get hooked up with Veritas?
If you told me 20 years ago that I’d have a sponsor to paint a mural—and that the sponsor would be a company that grows weed—I would have said you were crazy. The city of Denver has so much great art and I think cannabis has helped with that. It’s been cool to see them intertwine. It all comes from the underground side of the city. The fact that Veritas and RiNo Arts District gave us pretty much complete freedom to paint whatever we want has been amazing and super humbling. I’ve barely been able to wrap my head around it.
Do you use cannabis in your own creative process?
I was actually puffing on something from Veritas the other day! Yes, I do use cannabis in my creative process. I like it because it opens you up more to new ideas and to thinking in a way you wouldn’t think normally. I’m also a fan of topical creams now. I use a lot of that stuff too because painting murals is not super easy on the body.
Get inspired: These Veritas Innovate strains are geared toward creativity
What can you share about the RiNo mural you’re currently working on?
I am still currently in the process of painting the mural. This one is a collaborative piece. It encompasses at least five to six businesses and wraps around the entire building at 2625 Larimer St.
I’m curating it with another artist, Tuke, and we’ve hired people from both of our crews that are helping. He’s from the DF crew [Diabolical Funk Graffiti] and I’m from the RTD crew [Rebels Til Death]. Tuke and I are doing a lot of the background stuff. We agreed to do an urban theme, so power lines, paper stands, etc. I’m doing a woman with an owl on her shoulder to signify hope.
There are also other animal elements—all animals that you’d find in Colorado / Denver—that we’re going to incorporate. I also might do a trash panda character. It’s hard to explain but there’s going to be what looks like a zoomed-in graffiti scene blown up on a building with characters that look like stickers. People will be able to look at it and say, “That’s graffiti, but it’s really pretty.”
Follow @jher451 to see more of Jher’s work
Fresh from the hot Arizona desert, 24-year old Angel Rodriguez received a warm Colorado welcome by seeking out Colorado’s finest cannabis. After purchasing a Veritas All-Star Joint Pack, he won himself tickets to the 2021 MLB All-Star game in Denver.
As our national pastime, we’ve come to mark the milestones of the summer season with baseball significance. The best example of this tradition is arguably the Midsummer Classic, better known as the MLB All-Star Game. When the team at Veritas learned that this year’s installment would be played at the Colorado Rockies’ own homebase of Coors Field, we knew we had to do something special to celebrate.
The answer: our limited edition All-Star Joint Pack, which dropped at over 40 dispensaries across Colorado. Decorated in homage to Denver’s hometown team, each keepsake can came with three all-star caliber 1g joints, a rally towel and a lighter. But that wasn’t all—each joint pack also had a code that could be entered for a chance to win two tickets to the July All-Star Game.
We loved seeing the amount of participation in this promo, but when the stakes are this high, there can only be one winner. For 24-year-old Angel Rodriguez, he found himself taking home the prize. Rodriguez, who just moved to Colorado from Arizona this summer, has a fascinating story to share:
How long have you been in Denver?
I officially moved to Denver on July 9.
What’s your personal relationship with cannabis like?
Overall, I’d say I’m a regular cannabis consumer—perhaps even more of a connoisseur. I’ve been enjoying cannabis for about five or six years, on and off. In terms of how I like to consume, I’m all about flower, concentrates and vaping on the go.
Were you familiar with Veritas Fine Cannabis before moving to Denver?
No, but I saw an advertisement for the All-Star Joint Pack on the front door of The Joint – Denver dispensary and knew I had to try it. I’d actually gone to that dispensary for a completely different product, but when I saw the flyer for the “three-strike joint cans,” I knew I had to get one.
You found a winning code in a Papaya Cake All-Star Joint Pack. Tell us about your experience with the Papaya Cake strain—was that your first time trying it? What did you like about it?
I don’t think it was my first time trying that strain—there are so many Cake crosses going around right now!—but it was definitely a must-have smoke. I found it to be very tropical with a sweet citrus taste to it. It also relaxed me immediately.
Looking for strains like Papaya Cake that share a similar terpene profile? Check out Veritas’ current drop of Rejuvenate Strains
When you entered your contest code, did you have a good feeling that you might be our big winner?
Honestly, I wasn’t even thinking about the contest. I was more excited by what was inside of the can: the towel, joints and the lighter. Still, I went ahead and entered the code, just for fun. It felt like a win-win in my eyes because even if I didn’t win the tickets, I still had three joints and a cool towel.
How did it feel when you found out on the morning of the All-Star Game that you’d won two tickets?
I was questioning whether the call I got was even real! I honestly thought it was my buddy calling me. It wasn’t until I heard someone say, “Angel, congratulations!” that I knew it wasn’t my friend. A lot of things went through my mind, but probably the one that stuck with me the most was just, “Is this real?!”
What was it like to attend the All-Star Game as our lucky winner?
This was my first All-Star Game! It was an awesome experience. We had great seats right along center field. I went with my roommate and we were shot-gunning tall cans and munching out on loaded nachos. This was my third time at Coors Field, actually, but it was my first All-Star Game, so that made me feel like a newbie in the stadium. The energy in the stadium for this one was electric.
Now that you’ve had a chance to check out the brand and products, what do you dig most about Veritas?
The brand itself! The flower is amazing in terms of quality. It’s a very enjoyable smoke, topped off with some seriously badass packaging. I’m also following Veritas on Instagram now to make sure I know about all of their latest strains and drops. I can’t thank the people over at Veritas enough for picking me as the winner. Huge shout out to everyone there! I look forward to more smoke from Veritas.
Stay in the know about exclusive Veritas drops—sign up here
If it’s time to talk about demon airport horses and caves filled with gold, Veritas Tractor Beam is the strain you’ll want to keep the conversation lively.
Sometimes the occasion just calls for conspiracy theories.
A time-honored tradition, debating the veracity of local myths and whispered legends can be an utter delight in the right company. However, even those who usually abstain from talk about Sasquatch or buried treasure will find their interest piqued with a little Veritas Tractor Beam. Featuring notes of musky pine needles and crisp citrus, and with effects that will have you feeling inspired and imaginative, this uplifting strain is a perfect accomplice to a night of good-spirited conspiracy theory chatter.
But what are these out-there ideas in need of a toke and a talk? Here are five of the best Colorado conspiracy theories to fuel your next friendly debate.
1. “Blucifer,” Demon Horse of the Denver International Airport
If you travel regularly, you’ve almost certainly met Blucifer. Technically speaking, it’s a 32-foot-tall fiberglass sculpture with red glowing eyes named Mustang. But for locals, the spectacle of the large blue horse rearing up outside the Denver airport has proved fodder for several outlandish conspiracy theories. Burn some Tractor Beam and dig on this: Blucifer really has caused death and destruction. In 2006, Luis Jiménez—the sculptor responsible for Mustang—was killed when part of the work came loose and severed an artery in his leg, causing Jiménez to bleed to death. Is it possible Blucifer might kill again? Who knows!
2. What’s Sealed in Spaulding’s Cavern?
Search all you want at Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, you won’t find Spaulding’s Cavern. That’s because the spacious yet narrow cavern has been sealed up tight since the 1930s when it was determined to be too dangerous for visitors to explore. Originally discovered by Jacob Spaulding in 1848, its fragile sandstone and risk of erosion made it unsuitable for public access. After being closed off in the 1930s, the cavern was briefly reopened in 1963 before again being sealed. Roll another joint of Veritas Tractor Beam and dare to ask: What’s really inside Spaulding’s Cavern?
3. Butch Cassidy’s Missing Gold
Not every Colorado conspiracy theory is soaked in blood or tied to extraterrestrial life—some are just about finding a lot of money. In this case, the goods in question come courtesy of the outlaw Butch Cassidy. In addition to being one of the finer roles played by the late Paul Newman, Cassidy was known for his infamous train robberies and reckless antics. As a result, many rumors persist with regard to where ol’ Butch may have stashed some of his loot while on the run from the law. One such rumored location? A ways south of Denver in El Paso County, near the town of Monument. No specifics about the location are known, but with the help of Veritas Tractor Beam, you might home in on where the gold is buried in no time.
4. Secret Bunkers Beneath DIA
DIA has approximately as many outlandish theories as it does outgoing flights. From the aforementioned Blucifer to tales of Freemasons and coded artworks, there is no shortage of character—or conspiracies—when it comes to the airport that opened back in 1995. Another is a belief that hidden beneath the airport’s baggage-transport tunnels is a series of secret bunkers. Though a tour conducted by The Denver Post revealed no evidence of unusual underground activity or tunnels, it won’t take much more than some Veritas Tractor Beam and a little imagination to begin debating where to find the access portal that was obviously hidden from reporters, and what nefarious purposes the bunkers are unquestionably meant to serve.
5. UFOs in Hooper, Colorado
At the end of the day, it’s hard to top unidentified flying objects as a source for a lively conspiracy theory debate. While Hooper (not far from Colorado Gators Reptile Park) is hardly the only place in Colorado where UFO sightings have been reported, the town does have the unique distinction of being host to a UFO watchtower. From this vantage, those hoping to spot a UFO have the vast expanse of the largely empty San Luis Valley to survey for signs of life beyond Earth. Some say geothermal water in Hooper draws these otherworldly crafts to the area, but regardless of any explanation, there are a lot of folks who have seen something that they cannot explain up there. With some Veritas Tractor Beam in the mix, the sky is truly the limit when it comes to arguing over what it all means and who—or what—is really out there.
Artist Joe Palec shares the inside story on how winter sports and cannabis inspired his graphic design for the Veritas skis made in partnership with Icelantic.
When it comes to cannabis culture, there is no offseason. Long before the law turned friendly, for example, cannabis and winter sports had already established an intractable bond—the secret slopeside smoke shacks are the stuff of legend. Fast-forward to today, and it’s this rich history that Denver artist Joe Palec drew from when he was recently tapped to design graphics for a custom set of Veritas x Icelantic Nomad 105 skis.
Just as Veritas Fine Cannabis is committed to ensuring consumers find the right strain for every occasion, every time, Palec’s unmistakable style blurs a stream-of-consciousness approach with intricate, surreal illustrations—each perfectly paired to the project at hand.
Thus, when Palec was asked to lend his talents in putting a Veritas twist on Icelantic’s flagship model Nomad 105 skis, he turned to those who knew the culture best for inspiration.
In keeping with the principles that guide all elements of the Veritas ethos—a hands-on approach from seed to harvest, cultivation consistency, quality over everything—Palec has produced a remarkable, one-of-a-kind design. As for how Palec would describe his final graphic art?
“Dangerously whimsical,” he says.
Check out this Q&A for more on Palec’s artistic background, his favorite Veritas strain, and much more:
How did you find yourself in this line of work?
I’ve always been good at it. I was always doodling for friends, but then about three years ago, I started to take it seriously, producing shows and doing commercial work. It’s been a long road but it’s been working for me so far!
Do you have any major influences as an artist?
One would be Martin Handford, the artist behind Where’s Waldo. I’ve always been into that style. I like making art that people want to look at but hopefully where they can have some fun with the work too.
What was your inspiration for the custom Veritas x Icelantic Nomad 105 skis design?
Veritas is a cannabis brand, so I obviously wanted to work that theme into it. I also spent a weekend with some avid skier friends and asked them if they knew any ski terms that might qualify as a double entendre so that I could work them into the design. So skiing tricks like the Daffy Duck and the Truck Driver and terminology like “yard sale” [aka eating it on the slopes], “pizza / fries” [ski positions], and “park rat.” I utilized all of that stuff as inspiration for my design.
How did you start designing for cannabis brands?
Separate from my work as an artist, I also work in cannabis, so I know a lot of people and budtenders within the industry. There’s actually a lot of overlap between the art and cannabis communities in Denver, thanks to brands like Veritas, which is really active in the art community and goes out of its way to cultivate relationships with artists.
I also definitely need to give a big shout-out to Robert Gray [@robtheartmuseum], who puts together really cool cannabis-influenced art events. It was at one of those events where I was first introduced to the Veritas team. I’m so grateful to work with a brand like Veritas that is so invested in the art community and in supporting the artists that are a part of it.
Do you have a favorite Veritas strain?
My go-to is Cake Pop. It’s one of those strains that doesn’t make me freak out, which I tend to do a lot. It just gets me into a great headspace, plus it helps me concentrate and gets my creative flow going.
The Veritas strain library is your source for tasty options for any activity, conveniently organized by whatever experience you’re looking for.
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With the snow we’re expected to get this weekend, and since Vail and Beaver Creek aren’t yet open, my plans this weekend include indulging in the thing that many Coloradans enjoy. Yeah, you guessed it, marijuana.
My other weekend plans usually include getting really cozy under some blankets, drinking some tea and probably doing nothing of note. Fortunately, these things pair extremely well — dare I say perfectly — with the ganja.
Of course, every cannabis consumer has their own personal preferences: mine are smoking flower from a pipe or cartridge, edibles and other relatively low-key products. While this article will share my favorite THC picks for all your TLC needs, this list is by no means exhaustive.
And without further ado, here are some top picks for your coziest high.
Flower: Veritas Fine Cannabis First Cut
Part of my own self-care routine is impulse-buying artisanal food products — during quarantine, I had wine and cheese nights alone in my apartment with this delicious truffle gouda from Whole Foods — and that’s what you’re getting with any Veritas bud you buy. Every part of the process is completed by hand. Veritas grows each plant, hand cuts the nuggets, hand-packages the product in sealed containers for maximum freshness and consumer enjoyment
The First Cut line is Veritas’ first in-house cannabis project, and each strain of the developing product is cut and sold in small batches. The OG strain I got was package 62 of 96.
The attention to detail shows. The product itself looks noticeably nicer than its more traditionally-cultivated counterparts. It’s like the difference between fresh-baked loaf and grocery store sliced bread. Smoking it feels clean, and the high is pretty nice.
Veritas products are available at Native Roots Vail, Roots Rx in EagleVail and Tumbleweed in Edwards and Eagle.
Edibles: Wana Fast-Acting Gummies
Sometimes, when the goal is comfort, it’s best to go with the tried and true. For me, that’s Wana gummies. Fast-acting delivers on its promise, and the 5 mg gummies come in three cocktail flavors that correspond to sativa, indica and hybrid. I tried the Piña Colada indica ones, and they made hours of binge-watching “Masterchef” even better than it would be without the THC. The other two flavors are a sativa Peach Bellini and a strawberry Margarita hybrid.
Wana products are widely available at Vail Valley dispensaries.
Topicals: Coda Signature Symphony Bath Bombs
Self-care and bath bombs go hand-in-hand, and I’m a big bath person. So with the chance to add a little extra relaxation to my hot-water-plus-book time in the tub, of course I was about it. You can guess how it went, but hint: the answer is well. The package comes with calm, balance and uplift scents, all formulated with natural ingredients. I used calm, which is a woody, floral blend of cedarwood, lavender, sweet marjoram and benzoin.
While the price tag is definitely not cheap — at Roots RX in EagleVail, the 3-pack retails for $30 — you’re paying for quality ingredients. Sure, even CityMarket sells bath bombs now, but those are the most basic formulas you can get. Compared to Lush bath bombs, which can run up to $10 themselves, Coda’s have the basic active ingredients required for the bath bombs to fizz, plus natural additives like safflower oil and hemp seed oil, and that’s it. You’re not getting anything besides calming scents, good ingredients and THC.
Also, you’re not getting a head high from this product. It’s not meant to enter your bloodstream to cause those effects. It’s meant to soothe sore muscles and bones. And it’s not meant to hit you like a train, either, it’s more of a slow burn. And, as always with baths, bring some cold water in case it does hit you too hard.