Sespe Spotlight: Artist Tobie Roach

Greetings Sespe Community, happy spring! Have you visited our Ojai storefront lately? Our dispensary will look like the spring season year-round thanks to new artwork by long-time Ventura artist Tobie Roach.

Tobie puts the finishing touches on a new mural.

Our front desk staff are now framed by a gorgeous representation of a budding cannabis sativa plant. As customers check in, they’ll also notice a painting of a THC molecule upon a background that almost appears to be tie-died.

I had the opportunity to chat with Tobie about her process as she wrapped up 46 hours of painting. Both pieces began as watercolors, she said (check out her original designs below). Tobie faced the challenge of translating the two small water color samples she created into large, acrylic murals — something she was happy to undertake. “I usually paint on a smaller scale. It feels really great to stretch out,” she said.

Tobie has lived in Ventura for the past 20 years, ten of which she spent managing the public art program for the city of Ventura. Her work can be found around the county — she has work on display at the Ventura County Planning Division offices, as well as bus shelters and utility boxes around the city.

Her work takes boundless forms: it’s displayed on children’s faces after a birthday party face-painting sessions, it’s in the portraits of local pets she loves to memorialize, and it’s in the work of her art students. One thing that remains relatively constant is Tobie’s use of color.

“My personal preference as an artist is bright colors,” she said with a smile, while laying down a gradient of color on the back wall of Sespe’s check-in area. “This really feels good to me.”

The process was fairly simple, she claimed, and required solely a palette knife, her brushes, and “a couple buckets of paint.” If you look at the back wall closely, you’ll notice small “splashes” of paint — Tobie mixed her acrylic paint with water, brushed against her hand, and let the colors splash along the wall.

She shared her original designs for the project with us — the illustration of the woman was an option for the front wall — where the cannabis sativa plant is now memorialized. Check out all the designs below:

As long-time Sespe customers will know, Tobie’s are not the only artworks we display. Our dispensary is also home to works from folks who remain incarcerated due to cannabis offenses and a stunning mural of Ojai’s pink moment. In fact, our logo was designed by our amazing budtender Cloud — ask her about it next time you stop by!

We’re thankful to live in an area that is enhanced by our vibrant community of artists. Here at Sespe, we’re passionate about supporting our community and creating a space that reflects the amazing people who live here. We hope to see you soon!

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