The Legacy of the Weedians

in Culture

Arik “Moonhawk” Roper has been essential in helping define a visual style for countless bands and projects that use the word “stoner” in their description. His instantly recognizable illustrations look like a cross between something from an old pulp fiction novel and Heavy Metal magazine. The wild, sci-fi fantasy feelings that Roper’s work evokes have made him a household name in both the music and design world. 

A graduate of the School of Visual Arts in New York City, Roper’s lettering and art have helped forge an artistic schema for the genres of stoner metal and stoner rock. If music dedicated to weed had a Sistine Chapel, its hallways would be painted by him.

High Times Magazine, October 2023

In April, Strange Attractor Press in London released Roper’s book, Vision of the Hawk, which is a retrospective of the last 20 years of the artist’s vast career. It’s a collection of sketches, illustrations, and more, that tell the story of a talented individual who carved out his own place in pop culture, providing imagery for Ozzy Osborne, the Grateful Dead, Mishka’s Sesame Street collab, a Thundercats cartoon, and his own book on exotic mushrooms. 

Alongside the drawings and stories in Vision of the Hawk is part of the history of how Roper came up with all three editions of the art for the band Sleep’s highly revered second album. Countless examples of Roper’s work have become widely recognized, but perhaps none have gone on to create such an impression as the final album artwork for Sleep’s Dopesmoker.

Since the recording’s initial release as a bootleg in the ’90s, the album is considered to be a masterpiece by critics, musicians, and record collectors alike. The New York Times referred to it as “one …

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Author: Matt Jackson / High Times

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