The eight year of High Art has been a true whirlwind into the surreal. Space aliens and hybrid astronauts float around dreamy, ethereal landscapes. Galaxies like you have never seen before explore hazes of psychedelic wonder. Hosted by the Natural Cannabis Company, this unique international competition annually invites visual artists to explore the depths of their imagination and art… and this year is no exception!
We have been brought to tears multiple times [during High Art 2021]. The talent, the stories of artists’ struggles this last year – it has been overwhelming.Noa Commendador, Art Director at the Natural Cannabis Company + High Art
This year’s theme, It Came From Outer Space, has elevated the caliber of entries to a new level for 2021. Narrowing down entries to the top 20 has been quite an ordeal for the Natural Cannabis Company team, with over 4,000 entries from a record of 148 countries! But as the most exciting event of the year, they aren’t complaining!
Artists have been inspired by marijuana for decades, and the cannabis art movement has evolved throughout different cultures. This movement has only grown as more and more countries have legalised this plant. As such, one of the goals of High Art is to celebrate this creativity and the real-life experiences linked to using cannabis. Submissions can be inspired by, or produced as a result of cannabis. However, while this is a focus, it is not compulsory for artists to have been affected by this psychotropic drug in order to submit an entry into the prize.
A world of promotion!
As well as the monetary prizes, the Finalists and the Winners will have their artwork, and stories relating to their art, read and seen by purchasers of NCC products. “We plan on designing all-new packaging” explains Noa. “We also plan to design some fun and interesting digital features that everyone should look for, by subscribing to our e-newsletter at [email protected]!”
This year we are also offering all the winning artists an opportunity to sell their works on highartgallery.com!
The winning entries will be featured at the High Art online gallery for one year, and then remain in the gallery’s archives. The winners will also enjoy their art being shared in the tantalising annual art book, posters, email newsletters, online press releases, online event promotions and social media marketing, as well as through exhibits and displays at prestigious international art and culture events [pandemic pending].
Below we reveal the Top 20 winners of High Art 2021… Enjoy!
The Top 20 Winners
We had one of the most difficult times out of every year choosing the top 150 and top 20 this year, but our 1st place winner was a given.Noa Commendador, Art Director at the Natural Cannabis Company + High Art
Eustache Usabimana gave us all tears of joy and happiness with his winning piece “From Outer Emotions To Life”.
1st place winner: $15,000 + $10,000 donation to an international charity of their choice.
Eustache Usabimana from Rwanda with “From Outer Emotions To Life”.
Eustache Usabimana is a Rwandan contemporary artist. From a very young age, he was fascinated and had a deep love of the arts, always believing that one day he would become an artist. Eustache’s admission to Rwanda’s Nyundo School of Art shaped his dream of becoming an artist. In 2018 he joined Indiba Art Space studio and further developed his own unique artistic style. His inspiration comes from his immediate surroundings. He believes that art has no limitations and he sometimes uses surreal art to express his ideas through works on canvas, sculpture and public murals. He believes in the healing power of art.
2nd place winner: $5,000
Cecilia Granata from Italy, with “Space Oddity”.
Born and raised in Italy, artist Ceci currently works as a Tattooer and Illustrator in the San Francisco Bay Area.
3rd place winner: $2,500
Vicktor Antonov from Bulgaria with “Princess Kaguya”.
Vicktor Antonov is a young Bulgarian artist experimenting with illustration, costume design and scenography. He graduated in Children’s’ Toy Design from Sofia’s National Applied Arts High School and has explored different parts of the adventure that is called art. He chases his dreams and makes art the way he wants to do art and the way he sees art.
4th place winner: $500
Jerryk Gutierrez from the Philippines with “A Gift From Beyond”.
Jerryk Gutierrez is a Filippino illustrator specializing in digital illustrations and graphic t-shirt designs. A lot of his works’ concepts are inspired by words, movie poster visuals, and absurd ideas he comes up with.
5th place winner: $500
Nicolás Rosenfeld a.k.a. Rosenfeldtown from Argentina, with “Galactic Beads”.
Rosenfeldtown is an Argentinian cannabis illustrator since 2009, digital illustrator since 2006, illustrator since 2000, and artist since childhood. He was born in 1981 in Santa Fe, Argentina. He is currently publishing in the magazine THC (cannabis culture of Argentina) and illustrating psychedelic themes.
6th place winner: $500
Bruno Vergauwen from Belgium with “Freedom Came From Outer Space”
Bruno Vergauwen is a Belgian visual artist. He works internationally and combines his commercial work as an illustrator and art director with personal projects. He currently lives in Antwerp with his wife Regula Ysewijn, who is a culinary author. They often collaborate on her projects for books and TV.
7th place winner: $500
Tony Riff from London with “Green Guardian”.
Tony Riff is a London-based illustrator with a love of character design, graphic design, and everything else in-between. The piece he submitted was inspired by vintage sci-fi comics and movies. He liked the idea of making something that looked like the front cover of a long forgotten comic book you’d find in a dusty attic somewhere.
8th place winner: $500
Emma Badia from Vancouver with “Hawker’s Paradise”.
Canadian artist Emma Badia works as a 2D FX Animator and as a freelance illustrator and painter on the side. While in animation school, she worked at a cannabis dispensary, and prior to that, she spent several years in Asia, which together inspired this piece.
9th place winner: $500
Anang Hidayat (Second Syndicate) from Indonesia with “Astro Weed”.
Ann, also known as Second Syndicate, is an illustrator and graphic designer from Semarang, Indonesia. They love detail work and colourful illustration art.
10th place winner: $500
Adi Gunawan from Indonesia with “Adam And Eve”.
Adi Gunawan is a visual artist and illustrator from Indonesia. His work is inspired by comic books and cartoons, and the theme of his works raise a lot of daily conversations and chaos on the internet.
11th place winner: $500
Ruben Topia from The Netherlands with “Quarantine In Outer Space”
Ruben Topia is the creator of the world of Rutopia. Rutopia is published in the book Inner Kingdom (2020) and in future Outer Kingdom (+/- 2021/22 ).
12th place winner: $500
Jotham Guintos a.k.a. Jokiargu from The Philippenes with “I Miss Earth”.
Jotham Guintos also known as “Jokiargu”, is a Filipino graphic artist based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. He heads a design team of carpet designers in one of Saudi’s leading carpet factories since 2001. In 2015, he rekindled his love for traditional and digital drawing, and went on a full social media swing in 2017 and onwards. His digital as well as his traditional ballpoint pen art is often dark with Baroque and Victorian-inspired themes, a dose of everyday elements, and portions of social-activism to pop-surrealism and fantasy themes.
13th place winner: $500
Dana Ulama from Germany with “Space Commander 420 B”.
Dana Ulama is a German-Syrian freelance digital artist and graphic designer currently living in Cologne, Germany. Her inspiration comes mainly from music and media. She started out by creating psychedelic artworks in traditional media, but has moved almost exclusively to creating digital vector artworks.
14th place winner: $500
Atsushi Kurono from Japan with “Space Age Mystic Order”.
Japanese artist “Kurono” has done various designs for tees, CDs, posters and more. His creation style is “cute and creepy”, blending cute elements with weird, poisonous twists that can produce fascinating artworks.
15th place winner: $500
Cindy Casino from USA with “Messenger”.
Through art, Californian artist Cindy Casino has found she can express herself in a way she could never do with words alone. She is deeply inspired by nature, dreams, moods, music and emotion. She loves training and further developing her skills as she continues to explore and evolve her personal work as well.
16th place winner: $500
Enkel Dika from North Macedonia with “High Times”.
Enkel Dika is a graphic designer from North Macedonia. Creativity has always been a part of his life and he finds inspiration in everything around him. Sometimes from music, nature, movies, and lately, the universe.
17th place winner: $500
Mossy Giant from Amsterdam with “Trip To Outer Space”.
Mossy Giant is an Amsterdam-based illustrator and graphic designer who practices his craft in a small studio close to the center of the city. He takes tremendous pride in his craft, always creating by hand, whilst also flirting with the digital realm – on a continuous journey to master his tools.
18th place winner: $500
Norman Duenas from the USA with “Still Living Out Of Body”.
Norman Duenas is a Philippine-born and California-based graphic artist, currently exploring the nature of existence in relation to mortality, time and space, dreams, and memories through surreal illustration and poetry.
19th place winner: $500
Steven Bossler from the USA with “First Contact High”.
Steven Bossler was born and raised in south eastern Wisconsin. A love for locking himself away for hours to draw eventually led to a tattoo apprenticeship and a BFA degree in Illustration from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. In 2009, along with a fellow artist and friend, Steven opened a tattoo studio/gallery called “Greenseed Studios.” Steven currently lives and works in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, USA, on planet Earth.
20th place winner: $500
Vibhas Virwani from India with “The Arrival of Vimanas”.
Indian artist Vibhas Virwani’s art content is usually fiction that tells a story and other times, just an idea. His artwork tries to explore the vast spaces of imagination. He specializes in creating concept art & illustrations for various projects such as games, animations, movies, comics or even other random ideas floating about in his head. He is greatly inspired by science fiction.
Still want more? Enjoy all 150 finalists over at the Natural Cannabis Company website!