Interview with a Cannapreneur: Doug Mau and High Art Studios

January 09, 2018

Doug Mau is a business analyst, creator inventor, entrepreneur who has spent his career managing a wide variety of entertainment businesses from artists, to touring shows, to venues to TV shows. He's the sole owner of High Art Studios.

Doug’s main role in the company is to conceive of and curate the images that he and the artists create. Essentially they have developed a codified method for communicating the 420 experience. “Our niche is creating innovative art that communicates the 420 experience in unique ways.” Doug said.High Art Studios focuses on creating unique expressions of the marijuana experience through innovative art. Founded in the Fall of 2014 when Doug first began to develop concepts for strain art based on old travel, fruit crate, circus, magic, pop and rock posters. Doug knew there was a huge gap in the collectible art market in the weed space. What he needed to find out was how connected were weed smokers with the strains they chose. “We soon found, through our test marketing, that people were very connected to the strains they chose to smoke.” Doug said. “We attended a trade show in September of 2016 where the producers of the new weed sitcom "Disjointed" saw our art. They then licensed (12) twelve of our images to dress the main set of Ruth's Alternative Caring Dispensary. We have also created custom pieces for Sister's of the Valley and Genesis Pharms.”

Blue Dream: She has let her cares drift away into a comfortable blue dream. As she sees the flying elephant, the girl in the bubble and this beautiful far away land take shape she decides to “dive into her blue dream.”


Gorilla Glue: One of the great things about the 420 experience is that we get to see things in a different light. My first experience with this strain was I felt like I had these Charley and the Chocolate Factory type goggles on and the world was a very comfortable place. There is great comfort in the 420 experience.


Dutch Treat: There is a backstory to this image. This is exactly what I told the artist: so you had lunch in the café’s in Amsterdam. You shared some hash with strangers in the coffee shop. You then got on your bike and rode out to the countryside. You parked your bike in front of a windmill, with trees in the background, and took a picture of the beautiful site. There is great beauty in the 420 experience.


Girl Scout Cookie:  this image represents those magical and mystical strains that we hear about and go to great lengths to find. She is beautiful, magical but above all she is sophisticated and able to mystify us with her magic.


Pineapple Express Air:  The best part of the 420 experience is that it gives us a chance to get away from it all. How often do we dream about that first class trip to a lush tropical care-free place? Hop on board the Pineapple Express Air!


Golden Goat:  There are those of us who really enjoy, and are able to, wake and bake. This image is a tongue in cheek nod to the wake n bakers out there. It’s the mountain morning blend. 


Our goal in creating all of our images is to bring a sense of dignity, class and sophistication to the 420 experience. There are never any leaves, smoke, joints or anything else to do with the act of getting high. That’s because we focus on the experience. We are at heart story tellers. The stories we tell are about different aspects of the 420 experience. We are unabashed in celebrating this wonderful experience. The images we create are for people who share our passion for the experience. It is good and it is a lot of fun.

Art and Creativity

High Art Studios' art is focused on the positive and humorous aspects of the marijuana experience. They have created some remarkable pieces for Sisters of the Valley and Genesis Pharms. 12 of the company's images can be seen on the new weed sitcom Disjointed on Netflix starring Cathy Bates.

High Art Studios has created art for major touring shows from rock, pop, country to Broadway. They're indeed one of the pioneers and well known for creating collectible merchandise that enhances the fan experience of the artists work. "We took what we learned from tour show merchandise and applied it to the weed space. If you look at the weed space market merchandising from a "potential" market it is very easy to see why we chose to go into this market. Plus we are huge fans of the 420 experience." Doug said.

Problems/Obstacles in the Industry

Doug believes that the marijuana art world is very narrowly focused, and expanding those horizons to a broader market is a key. Market Visibility and Distribution is, once again, a major problem not only in this market, but in any market, however, High Art Studios in their outreach effort, and got a phenomenal push in the marketplace through their visibility on "Disjointed."

"All art forms are an attempt to communicate whether its painting, poetry, acting or writing." Doug continues. "You have to understand your audience and have a palette of tools to effectively communicate to those people. A client once said “my kid could have drawn that!” I replied “yes and your kid could make a Jackson Pollack painting as well. Problem is he could never sell his painting for a million dollars because he hasn't developed an audience. Know your audience and develop a relationship by listening for what they want."

What's next for Doug Mau and High Art Studios?

"We are negotiating licensing and distribution agreements on a worldwide basis." Doug said. "My goal is to focus on the art and distribute the product through existing distribution channels." Mau continued “That said our art will never be seen in major retailers this is art for a very select group of people. This art is for people who really enjoy the 420 experience.”

“We have some incredible new custom pieces we are working on as well as new strain images for the 60’s, Canadian and European markets. A project that is very close to my heart is a series of images we are doing for the #illegallyhealed group. This is a group of people, at least 400,000 strong, that live in places where marijuana is not legal. Their personal choice to heal themselves by using marijuana as a healing agent is a very risky and bold move. They have a great story to tell and we are working very closely with them to help them tell their story.”

Mau finished by saying “I started this company because I wanted a collaborative environment where artists could get maximum benefit for the work they have done. The company is focused on taking care of everyone within the company. It is also focused on donating our resources to companies who do good work for others and can use a hand up in this life.”