August 9, 2010

TWB Interview: Daniel Rueffert

August 9, 2010
Daniel Rueffert

Coloring Between The Lines When When High

One of the beautiful things about marijuana and art is it transcends all things; Age, sex, race is never a factor when meeting a proper pothead, it’s all about the herb. I was recently contacted by an American expatriate and artist presently residing San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. His name is Daniel Rueffert and his personal story and art are too beautiful not to be shared.

TWB: What made you choose that region (San Miguel de Allende)?

DR: I was running from an Alabama conviction of first offense possession of less than an ounce back in ’69 when I first crossed the border. They’d sentenced me to twenty years in the Alabama state penitentiary and I was out on an appeal bond. I’d been arrested 7 hours before I was to go to Vietnam, a very good thing that I didn’t appreciate till much later.

A friend and I were hitchhiking down the road in Missouri on our way to Florida and the guy that picked us up eventually took us to San Miguel de Allende. We ran out of money quick though, and when we were returning to the US we got busted in Brownsville with the four ounces we’d managed to score in the short time we’d been there.

I’d been busted in the fields of Kansas while out on the Alabama bond as well and while I was sitting in jail in Texas the boys from Kansas came and picked me up on the charge of harvesting they had against me there. Eventually the Alabama charges were dropped for failure to prove guilty knowledge and Kansas let me go after 4 months in prison.

When my legal problems were finally over I came back to live in San Miguel. It had been love at first sight and from the day I first laid eyes on San Miguel it was where I wanted to live. I live 40 miles from San Miguel now because it’s gotten so, um, popular. That’s the short of it.

TWB: During the 60’s Ken Kesey and the merry pranksters would hide in Mexico, have any interesting stories of the sorts?

DR: You know Neal Cassidy died here in ’68? I had the good fortune to live in the apartment he lived in when he died when I arrived ’74. Lots of stories.

TWB: My lineage is from Sonora, Mexico and my family on that side use marijuana as medicine is it the same where you’re at?

DR: The Mexican people still use a tincture of marijuana with alcohol to relieve small pains. I’m stoned from 6am on so I have no small pains. I notice I cough a lot more when I’m smoking Mexican pot than when I’m smoking homegrown and I blame it on DDT or something, but what are you gonna do?

TWB: Now that Mexico has made small amounts of possession legal have you noticed any difference in procuring it?

DR: It’s funny, they legalized small amounts but at the same time the ZETA {Is one of the larger Mexican cartels} moved into San Miguel and made it a death penalty to deal drugs. You can only buy drugs from the cartel now and gringos are scared shitless of the cartel so in affect they’ve brought down the drug use considerably here. The cops have no interest in small amounts, I’ve had them return joints after I paid my mordida{a bribe}.

TWB: I really appreciate you contacting me you art is beautiful and reflective an old Mexico no one ever sees.

DR: Glad you like the paintings, the old Mexico I fell in love with is disappearing in front of my eyes. I’m happy that fate led me here and that I’ve used what talent I was given to capture this place in the time of my life. I sort of paint by numbers nowadays, I just don’t have the numbers.

TWB: Got any pot and painting stories?

DR: Over the years I’ve cultivated friendships down in Oaxaca and love to go paint there. I can buy kilos for the wonderful price of 100 US dollars. and a kilo does me well for a couple of months. I give pot away to friends, I don’t sell it. I only give it away once though so from that point on it’s up to them to figure it out on their own. I’ve been told it is not easy.

I just took three weeks to go to Colorado and become a patient there. I wanted to smoke dope legally in America once. It was fun but I could never go back to live there. Too weird. And I came soooo close to getting busted at the border with the ounce of Mexican I brought up with me, cute dog.

TWB: Did you speak Spanish when you first arrived to Mexico? In that area is Indian still spoken or has that language gone away there to?

DR: I knew how to say taco. The indians around here are called the chichimecas. A friend came with the intention of translation the bible and finally gave up. Too many cluks and neks.

TWB: Who would you consider your greatest inspiration for your style?

DR: I’ve always been a big fan of Van Gogh and the impressionists. I’m easily impressed.

TWB: Have you ever visited the fields in Mexico?

DR: I’ve never actually gone into the fields down here, a bit dangerous. That price I quoted comes from up in the mountains though usually through an intermediary.

TWB: What made you pursue a career as a professional artist?

DR: When I first arrived in Mexico I had no idea of what I wanted to do. I had the GI bill and there was an art school in San Miguel that accepted it. I studied sculpture and painting, aesthetics and mime. When I wasn’t getting the GI Bill I would go to New Orleans and do peoples portraits in the French Quarter till I had enough to go back to Mexico for awhile. I’m sending a photo that made it into papers all around the US from that time. Lucky? I don’t know, I had to sit on that tire for a long time.

In 1980 I met a lady that owned a mall in Manhattan Beach California and she let me go at Christmas time and set up in the mall to do portraits. I’d make enough to see me through the year in Mexico and then go back to “work” in the mall the next Thanksgiving. In 1987 They sold the mall and the new owners were nowhere near as artist friendly, coincidentally I had started showing in a gallery in Puerto Vallarta and when I returned from California I had as much waiting for me at the gallery as I’d made in the month sitting there making people’s noses too big. I used to quit smoking during the month I was drawing in the mall. It made me too crazy getting all into how weird it was, doing what I was doing. I’d stress for 11 months worrying about that job. Anyway, from 87 on I’ve been selling paintings for a living. Every time we sell one I think it’ll be the last. Art sort of goes out the window in a recession. I built a restaurant with a partner about ten years ago but it’s never made money. We built it in a ghost town. Now that painting sales have slowed the restaurant is miraculously picking up. You never know.

In the painting I do on youtube called beach painting you can see the roach hanging out of my mouth but while my work is affected by marijuana, I’m sure. I don’t hide marijuana leaves in the paintings or anything.

I tell people that as someone who has smoked marijuana everyday all day long for over forty years, I am proof positive it is not addicting. I have never painted a painting straight. Why would I? I’ve never driven a mile straight…..small lie but when I did I nearly killed myself and my sister and her husband. I’ll never try that again.

In answer to your question of why I decided to become an artist, I don’t think it was ever a decision, it was sort of putting one foot in front of the other and this seems to be where they were going. Here. Where I am now.

You can catch Mr. Rueffert on producing art videos on his yyoutube channel or catch him on his gallery website.

Mr. Rueffert we wish you the best from The Weed Blog and if I ever make it that far south expect a knock on the door.

If you or anyone else is an artist (writer,singer, painter, etc..) and interested in me doing a Q&A feel free to write me at [email protected].


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