Jess Rotter, originally from NY and now based in Los Angeles, has been working in illustration for decades. She's best known for her scribbles of legacy artists like Joni Mitchell, Grateful Dead, Cat Stevens, Linda Ronstadt, Alice Coltrane and of course, George Harrison!
Did you know from a young age that you wanted to be an artist? When did that dream become a reality?
"From a super young age I always gravitated to art as it always felt like the most natural personal expression. As an only child, many years of my life were in my room scribbling characters and stories. I was always so inspired by comics, album covers, and cartoons that it was a dream to be able to create that one day."
It seems that music, and musicians, are almost always central to your work - Can you tell us about the relationship between music and your work?
"When I was three years old, my dad became challenged with various health issues that left him unable to properly speak. He best communicated with me through the years from passing on his records and specially curated VHS mixtapes (which included lots of Muppets) that he would compile, which became my cultural teachers. My family believed that music, art, imagination, and being silly were the keys to life. That ethos really is what inspires my heart and what I do for a living. I am grateful to be able to draw portraits of musicians that really saved me and hope they inspire and touch other people’s lives the same way."
Has cannabis been a part of your creative process (either now or in the past)? If so, how has that relationship evolved?
"I think stoner vibes and counterculture energy is a big part of my creative process whether lighting up or not. The ability to take a life escape and let in gonzo imagery. Not taking yourself too seriously or being self aware, I think that is essential to the creative process so maybe it is just all encompassing."
Do you roll your own joints?
"I do not…so, thank you Dad Grass!"
Do you remember a time when you were too damn high?
"Well, it has been a while but I remember a night in Marfa, Texas where I was rolling around in a field of flowers and the film ‘Stop Making Sense’ was screening outdoors on an enormous screen and then…pretty sure I woke up the next morning in a bathtub."
Do you have any special memories that involve the music of 'All Things Must Pass'?
"When I lived in NYC I waltzed around the streets constantly with headphones on, which is something I miss terribly now living in LA. When something was going on..a heartbreak, a confusing issue, bummer day, whatever it was, “Hear Me Lord’ off All Things Must Pass was my go to totem. I would just walk. It would be freezing. Could be buzzed or clad with a night coffee. That song was just on repeat. It always helped."
You mentioned when we first started working together that George was always your favorite Beatle. What was it like for you to work on this project?
"I grew up in a major Beatles house so of course we had ‘All Things Must Pass’ on the deck. The fact that I am 42 years old spending my day drawing THE George Harrison ATMP gnomes smoking a joint as my job makes me incredibly grateful. I hope my younger self now feels satisfied. But all kidding aside, this project was a dream to work on. I have to give a shout out to my friend and animation guru Andrew Deselm who did an unbelievable job bringing these to life and of course Jeff Sharpe and Ben Starmer @ Dad Grass, who were a blast to work with!"
What’s your favorite thing to doodle when your mind wanders?
"I always draw animals in top hats or wizards reciting mantras about getting by. Some of them made it to the book, ‘I’m Bored’ which was released a few years ago."
About The 'All Things Must Grass' Collection
In 1970, George Harrison released All Things Must Pass, his first solo album after the break-up of the Beatles. Just over 50 years later, Dad Grass is paying tribute to the man, the dad, his music and his enduring legacy by bringing the world some laughs and some grass.
We’d like to think that if George was still “drinking his tea” today, he’d shy away from the high test blow-your-mind weed that the kids are into and opt for something mellower, something like our Special Blend George Harrison Dad Grass CBD + CBG Five Pack joints we’ve rolled up in his memory. We also reckon he’d have a little laugh over our All Things Must Grass Dad Stash, smoking paraphernalia and merch celebrating his seminal 1970 album. We certainly did. And we hope you do too.