Denver has become the leading destination for all things related to the marijuana industry, especially now that Colorado sits on the precipice of a decriminalization law with Amendment 64, and a cutting-edge show by Dampie, a progressive artist who specializes in hemp-culture art, just opened at HoodLab, the gallery located inside the HoodLamb store at 3354 Larimer Street. The artist, a native of Holland who traveled from that country for Friday's opening, adopted the pseudonym "Dampie" while creating work in Amsterdam; he wanted to keep the negative stigma often associated with hemp separate from his personal life.
But there's not much stigma to hemp in Colorado these days. The show is titled 75 Years of Marijuana Prohibition, and Dampie says he could have opened it in a number of places, including Amsterdam or Los Angeles, but decided on Denver because hemp culture is thriving here. "People are more into it here," he explains, "and I felt like Colorado would appreciate the art more."
Much of the art in the show was inspired by the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act, which "originated in the U.S., and some European countries just directly copy the laws made in the U.S. without changing them to actually apply to their country," he says. "So that's what this art is about: This is what happened, and here we are -- why?"
In 2005, Dampie met HoodLamb when the HoodLab -- which is what the hemp-clothing company calls its store -- was still located in Amsterdam. At the time, he was turned off by an art culture he describes as "corporatized," but eventually he applied his talents to the more grassroots aspects. "The hemp culture is a niche within a niche, but the people who enjoy the culture are young, educated people," Dampie says.
HoodLamb moved to Denver about three years ago, settling first in Denver's Art District on Santa Fe, then moving to RiNo. The company creates signature lines with different artists, and also makes snowboarding coats, hats and T-shirts.
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Dampie's art will be on display at HoodLab through October; the gallery is open from 12 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, with special hours Wednesday 12-7p.m. and Friday 3-7p.m. Admission is free; find more information at www.dampie.com .Keep reading to see more photos of the opening night of Dampie's show.