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The Do-It-All Artist




For Seattle producer and theater curator Catherine Blake Smith, yesterday was just another typical day. She left the house at 7 a.m., worked in a café on school assignments and a MailChimp email blast for an upcoming show, went to work as an administrative assistant, did more homework, met with a playwright to talk about his new piece, met a friend to talk about web site development and then went to a new play at night. “There are all these things I’m asked to think about,” Smith reflects, seemingly exhausted. “Very rarely do I have a day when I just focus on one thing.”

Seattle Cannabis Artists

Photo of Catherine Blake Smith by Ian Johnston

While that was a typical day for Smith, it also resembles a typical lifestyle for many of the Emerald City’s creative folks. Seattle, a city known far and wide for art, demands a lot from its artists; many are turning to cannabis to help soothe the anxiety and stress of it all. Smith says she uses edibles—lozenges, specifically—to help her multi-faceted career. Cannabis, she states, helps her stay on a singular creative task amidst all the demands. “It’s a way to focus on myself,” she shares. “If I’m using cannabis, it means everything else has been taken care of that day and I deserve a few hours by myself, to be with me.”

SassyBlack, a musician, producer and educator in Seattle, says she uses cannabis to inspire herself and engage with her creative work. And, she acknowledges, she actually thrives off the spliced, multidimensional demands modern-day artists regularly face. “As I get older,” she muses, “I’ve been using cannabis to help me get to a creative space. When I’m switching from admin work to creative, it can be hard to turn off the business side of things and turn on a creative mode. So I use cannabis to ignite and vibe out, or even to calm down and relax my body.”

Seattle Cannabis Artists

Photo of SassyBlack by Texas Isaiah

That doesn’t mean SassyBlack laments tasking herself with so much to accomplish. “It feels great,” she explains. “I feel like this is how successful people operate, doing a lot of different things.” She offers the example of Will Smith, a prominent actor, rapper, entrepreneur, comedian and, these days, an inspirational speaker on social media. Like Smith, SassyBlack says she is someone who “likes to be moving.” Even when she’s at her most relaxed state, she says she likes to be doing something. “Going for a walk, playing a game,” she says. “I’m always on the go.”

Other artists don’t always share this same disposition. Seattle actor Carolyn Marie Monroe, who also works as a massage therapist and a restaurant server to supplement her creative career, says she just wants to act—a desire that makes it hard to be successful in an increasingly difficult field. “For some people,” notes Monroe, “they get creative fulfillment out of many different outlets. I know fellow actors who write, direct, teach and do a number of things so they can patch together a living in their field. But I only want to act—which can be very competitive, especially for a woman. So I work myself to death to take a show because that show doesn’t pay enough.”

Seattle Cannabis Artists

Photo of Carolyn Monroe by Margaret Toomey

To help her sleep, Monroe says she often turns to cannabis to quiet the anxieties resulting from her difficult and competitive career. But even that doesn’t always help. “Sometimes I get sleeplessness from it,” she admits, “and hyper-obsessed about an idea. But other times, I’m in a state where I experience a nice body high. I’m drifting off and I can hold an idea more gently, instead of beating it to death. And I just hold onto that idea.”


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