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The Illustrator

Aless McGovern speaks five languages fluently and holds two degrees. Since graduating from a graphic design program last year, she has worked diligently to build an impressive body of personal work which showcases her talent, her love of bright colours, and what is sure to soon be considered her signature psych-pop style.

Aless McGovern
The Illustrator
Quick Facts

Aless McGovern

Illustrator

Instagram

@its_aless_mc

Aless is an emerging illustrator living and working in Montreal, Quebec. Her style is rooted in a vibrant childhood, influenced by her parent’s culture. Having a mother that was born in Italy meant Aless’s upbringing was similar to that of an Italian immigrant — she was raised in a dynamic, family-oriented home surrounded by laughter and food.

My preferred way to consume cannabis is to smoke a joint. I enjoy the act of rolling, the feeling of inhaling. It’s a ritual, and I find it both calms and energizes me in different ways.

I am alone when I’m working on my art, and oftentimes I will smoke a joint before starting, or to finish up something I’m working on. I find that cannabis has been able to help me either come up with ideas that are out of the box, or it helps me relax and take a step back from what I’m doing to see it with fresh eyes. I think artists need a reminder not get so stuck in their heads, or take themselves too seriously.


I’m not too worried about the stereotypes associated with “stoner artists” because I produce a lot of work and I am really actively committed to my career. 

I’ve been working on illustrations for various strains, originally inspired last year by the approaching October 17 date of legalization. I was thinking a lot about the fact that pre-legalization, the occasional smoker would buy from a dealer, so they likely wouldn’t be exposed to the types of strains that exist. There are over 700 varieties of strains, and the growers keep on coming up with them, it was so fascinating to me the more I learned. The names of the strains are always so creative too — like ‘Power Plant’ and ‘Yoda’s Brain.’ There is an endless pool of inspiration for an artist’s brain! I wanted to find a visual way to represent the strain in a way that would be interesting and memorable for consumers. And, I think I should add, it has been so much fun to make art like this! Art should always feel fun, and taking on personal projects instead of just commercial projects is the best way to make sure there’s still fun in your practice.

I’m not too worried about the stereotypes associated with “stoner artists” because I produce a lot of work and I am really actively committed to my career.  Even though I don’t specifically talk about my cannabis use with my parents, they’re proud of my personal work. I think it’s pretty obvious to them that I’m not just sitting on my couch smoking weed all day. I have really big goals for my career and my future. I might want to get my Master’s. I want to teach one day. I’m really just starting out, and I feel like the sky’s the limit.

I will always choose a Sativa over an Indica strain.

 

With Sativa, I find it’s more of a psychological high. So you’re more like in your head, and I like that, especially when it comes to helping me take an idea further, or make connections that will bring my art to the next level. Maybe I’ll like a concept I’ve been working on but not the way it’s translating on the page visually, and when I’m high I’m able to see possibilities for the work, other options or avenues I can take to make it stronger. I think this theory could be applied to other areas of your thoughts, too. I find cannabis gives me permission to move through blockages. Sometimes you have a thought or idea in your head — a way of looking at something that seems so set, and you don’t think there’s any other way of doing it or thinking about it. For me, smoking weed can help me break down those barriers. It allows me to see different solutions that I would not normally see.

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Montreal is a vibrant, creative city, full of things to see and experience. We asked Aless to send us a list of her favourite things to do in the city, stoned or not!
1

I love going to watch screenings of independent movies at venues like Bar Ritz PDB (local bar in Parc Ex), Village-au-Pied du Courant (seasonal outside venue located on the side of the St-Laurent River presenting open air movie screenings on the sand) or Cinema Moderne (one-room movie theatre and coffee shop showcasing a selection of independent movies).

2

In the Summer, it’s great to spend time discovering new music at all the open air festivals that take place in the city. There are also free live Balkan music shows at L’Escalier, in front of Berri Metro.

3

I’ll enjoy a solo coffee and pastry at either Cafe Olimpico or Cafe Italia, my two favorite italian cash-only coffee shops in the city. I sometimes bring my sketchbook and develop some ideas.

4

One of my favourite places year round is the Botanical Garden! It’s the best place for peace, quiet, nature and inspiration — I always visit the light garden exhibitions in the fall.