This fall, the leading global cannabis brand PAX has teamed up with Akiko Tsuji — artist, ceramicist, editor, publisher, and fashion designer — for a limited-edition device collaboration. Drawing inspiration from the purity and wellbeing both cannabis and art bring, Akiko created four unique designs that are meant to evoke a sense of joy and speak to the individuality of cannabis consumers.
Each design — HARMONY, NOSTALGIA, CAT and GODDESS — was made for the light-hearted customer who enjoys the simple pleasures in life and is inspired by the vibrancy of the world around us, with accompanying sketches to show how the creative process unfolded. Devices are available in limited quantities for PAX 3, Era Pro, and Era Life and sold exclusively on pax.com.
Who Is Akiko Tsuji?
Tokyo-born artist Akiko Tsuji has made a career out of venturing beyond the limits of creativity. From running a Brooklyn-based design and publishing studio with her husband to being the editor/publisher of the style and art magazine Famous Aspect and now the cult, anti-hype zine Days, as well as creating numerous pieces in multidisciplinary collaborations, Tsuji does it all.
She has worked on diverse projects including the branding of Yohji Yamamoto’s identity in Japan, the development of Zero+Maria Cornejo’s label and store, the logo for the City of London as well as designing and modeling for the cover art for Sasu Ripatti / Vladislav Delay. Working as a ceramic artist and fashion designer since 2012, Tsuji’s most notable collaborations include Paloma Wool, Maman NYC, and Chillhouse with her ceramic collections being sold at select stores such as Steven Alan, Virgil Normal, Seldom Seen, Voyager and Tekuno Tea. In 2019 she released the acclaimed book “Vase and Flower” which immediately sold out.
Akiko’s eponymous bespoke fashion line, which was sold at Voyager SF and LA and 97 Crosby NYC, is now available at akikotsuji.com and loved globally by fashion insiders and everyday wearers alike. Currently she is collaborating with Troentorp Sweden creating a line of hand painted clogs.
An Artist’s View: Akiko Tsuji on Her PAX Collaboration
Honeysuckle caught up with the artist, who now lives in the Bay Area with her family, to get her insights on her collaboration with PAX.
HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE: Why were you excited to participate in this collaboration both in the cannabis space and with PAX specifically?
AKIKO TSUJI: The PAX brand cares more about quality than quantity, which is why I find a synergy in this collaboration. In a world filled with mass-produced products, my sentiment leans heavily towards reduction. This philosophy goes for my business practice as well — the garments I make and the clogs I paint are made-to-order, thus reducing waste. I’m also very intrigued by PAX’s approach to shifting the general cannabis image to the more lifestyle-conscious image of ‘well-being’ by creating devices and products that can be enjoyed in a more positive, approachable and conscious environment.
How do you think art/fashion play a role in the cannabis space? Why did you want to do this partnership?
Culturally, I think art and fashion play a big role in identifying acceptance and pushing boundaries in the cannabis space. I always like this subtle disruption-effect that art and consequently design can facilitate - something not obviously intrusive, but something essential in details or tone, and that helps in educating the consumer that there is a difference in quality of products. Proudly wearing a garment from one brand vs. another boils down to a choice based on quality and the philosophy behind each one of them. It’s about both trust and about breaking new ground.
What was the inspiration behind your designs? How do you think they’ll bring meaning to consumers?
Generally I’m interested in a personal connection between my work and my customers. In the spirit of keeping things small and independent, I try to approach any project to be as bespoke as possible. That goes for my clothes, ceramics, and illustrations. I love working closely with a customer to tell their story or express their personality through my designs. That’s where I believe a deeper value is created that transcends the commercial ‘fast-fashion’/‘fast product’ hype machine, and one creates pieces that will be cherished for many years. Timeless design is what it is all about, and I think next to aesthetics and form, that can also be achieved through a personal relationship to a product.
What Makes the PAX x Akiko Tsuji Designs Unique?
Tsuji shared what distinguishes each of the four designs - HARMONY, NOSTALGIA, CAT and GODDESS - that she developed specifically for her project with PAX. Consumers are bound to love them as much as she does. Check out the videos below for Akiko's "making of / behind-the-scenes" design sketches!
"The sound, the smell, the air, the nature, and the negative and the positive of spaces and things all play a role in realizing my visuals. They float in a vacuum of a calm digital space as I imagine a kind of vibrant musical composition."
"I was inspired by the City Pop sound, the 80s and the colorful pattern art of Memphis designers such as Alessandro Mendini and Achille Castiglioni and merged the two worlds visually.”
"A cat seemed so perfect for the PAX device as cats give off a chill vibe. I imagined a relaxed tabby cat perched elegantly in a garden, licking her paw, after catching a mouse on a nice sunny day.”
"I'm generally drawn to goddesses of different cultures. PAX is the Roman goddess of peace. I've added the wings, and a wholesome cornucopia by her feet while focusing on depicting the peaceful aura in her expression and gesture."
For more on the PAX x Akiko Tsuji designs, visit pax.com. To learn more about Akiko Tsuji's work, visit akikotsuji.com.
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Featured image: Akiko Tsuji (C) PAX