We’re please to bring you a City Sessions interview with Denver artist Tony Ortega. The University of Colorado MFA alum has collaborated with our partner Stillwater Brands to provide beautiful Day of the Dead packaging for their Ripple fast-acting edibles. The three different Ripple products (Pure (10mg of THC), Balanced (5mg:5mg THC:CBD), and Relief (20mg CBD:.5mg THC)) are each adorned with a different Dia de los Muertos illustration by Mr. Ortega. To add to the awesome collectors items, 5% of all sales are being donated to RedLine Contemporary Art Center in Denver’s five points neighborhood, a nonprofit that fosters engagement between artists and communities. This is the last weekend you can purchase Tony’s Day of the Dead Ripple packaging and support RedLine (Dia de los Muertos is this Sunday November 1st!) pick up your preferred edible line at any of our partner dispensaries: DANK Keeping Kind, The Herbal Cure, or Lova Canna Co! Learn more about this collaboration, and Tony’s story!
Would you share your story as a cannabis consumer?
I use cannabis for medical purposes—it helps manage my arthritis pain in my knees, feet and arms, and allows me to sleep better at night.
What are your favorite ways to consume cannabis? How does it fit into your daily life?
My favorite way to consume cannabis is by taking edibles in the evening when I’m winding down and want to relax.
What are the elements of Ripple/Stillwater products that attracted you to use them?
Well, this is a no brainer! Ripple products are easy to use, have a wonderful taste and the price is affordable.
What is your connection to the celebration of the Day of the Dead? How has this connection influenced your art for this project? Is there anything about the art on the Ripple packaging you want consumers to specifically know about?
My personal connection to Día de los Muertos stemmed from living in Mexico as a college student when I got to experience the celebration firsthand. As I became an artist and more involved with the Chicano art community here in Denver, I started having exhibits on Día de los Muertos in the early ’80s. Since then, it’s been a part of an annual tribute to my ancestors. I recently built an altar to my mother, grandmother, great-aunt, father and stepfather for an exhibit at the Longmont Museum that runs through Jan. 9, 2021.
My artwork has a sense of harmony and meaning to every piece, including the artwork for Ripple. It’s about identity, culture, community and traditions, and also how these have evolved over time. The artwork on the Ripple packaging is meant to be representational but not realistic. The art is influenced from folk art in Mexico and contemporary art in the United States.
Please tell us about your connection to RedLine Gallery, why you chose them as the beneficiary of the project, and what the Gallery means to you.
For the last two years at RedLine Contemporary Art Center, I’ve been a resource artist, meaning an older, more mature artist acting as a mentor. I chose them as the beneficiary of the project with Ripple because Redline is a nonprofit that has had a huge impact on the arts community. Redline was created to support emerging artists and provide creative opportunities for local residents, which I admire. Viewing art and arts education through the lens of social issues, this organization strives to ensure equitable access to the arts for under-resourced populations and empower everyone to create social change through art.