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From album art to cannabis containers, L.A. graphic artist Neville Garrick has designs on preserving Bob Marley's legacy

From album art to cannabis containers, L.A. graphic artist Neville Garrick has designs on preserving Bob Marley's legacy
Marley Natural's limited-edition Anniversary Herb Collection consists of four strains packaged in 3.5-gram glass jars bearing artwork by artist Neville Garrick, who created the album art for many Bob Marley and the Wailers albums, including "Rastaman Vibration" and "Exodus." (Marley Natural)

Los Angeles-based graphic artist Neville Garrick, whose work appears on some of Bob Marley's most well-known albums, has been tapped to help package a different side of the late reggae singer's legacy — limited-edition jars of cannabis.

Designs by the Jamaican-born UCLA graduate and longtime friend of Marley appear on the glass jars of Marley Natural's Anniversary Herb Collection available starting this weekend at five Los Angeles-area medical marijuana dispensaries and four in the Bay Area. (Although California recently legalized adult recreational use, it can't yet legally be bought or sold in the state outside of the existing medical marijuana system.)

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As the art director for the Tuff Gong record label, Garrick was the man behind the look of many Bob Marley and the Wailers albums, "Rastaman Vibration," "Exodus," "Kaya" and "Survival" among them. He also toured with the Wailers and designed the lights and sets for their live shows. After Marley's death in 1981, Garrick helped create —  and served as an executive director of — the Bob Marley Foundation, an organization dedicated to preserving the musician's legacy.

Garrick, who kept a sketchbook on hand during his travels with Marley, turned to some of those decades-old illustrations for his latest project, and the final result is packaging (on 3.5-gram glass jars) that references Rastafarian culture and one of the four specific strains.

For the jar of Marley Gold (a sativa called Malawi), for example, Garrick created a design that incorporates the Malawi flag and a banana leaf because, according to legend, he and Marley first sampled this strain while touring in the '80s — and it was presented to them wrapped in a banana leaf. And the packaging for Marley Black (an indica strain called Jesse's Girl) is based on an illustration of two women in a Kenyan marketplace that Garrick used as the basis for the back cover art for the album "Survival."

"Herb was a great inspiration for me," Garrick says in the press materials announcing the collaboration. "When I was designing, I thought back to smoking with Bob and went back through some of the drawings I'd done. I also wanted to take it back to creation and symbolize the ancientness of the herb, the Rasta man and Ethiopia for an African vibe."

Marley Natural, a partnership between Seattle-based Privateer Holdings and the Marley family, tapped Garrick for the project as a way of marking the cannabis brand's one-year anniversary and observing what would have been Marley's 72nd birthday.

With hopes of becoming a globally recognized cannabis lifestyle brand, Marley Natural officially launched here in L.A. last year on Marley's Feb. 6 birthday with a range of lifestyle products that, in addition to cannabis flower, included THC-free hemp seed lotions, soaps, balms and body washes and high-end smoking accessories crafted from sustainably grown, kiln-dried American black walnut wood and hand-blown glass.

While the accessories and body products can be purchased online at www.marleynaturalshop.com, the limited-edition strains are only available for purchase locally by those who can legally possess cannabis by recommendation or authority of a California-licensed physician at the following dispensaries: LAPCG (in West Hollywood), Universal Collective (in Los Angeles), Beach Enlightenment and Compassionate Healing Center (in Playa Del Rey) and the Cannary (in Mar Vista).

For more musings on cannabis culture and commerce, follow me @ARTschorn.  

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