FILIPINOTOWN, Calif. – Collectors of fine art prints are likely a fan of Justin BUA. An award-winning artist, teacher, and public speaker, he is known for his evocative paintings of musicians, rappers, athletes, and other personalities that define the inner-city landscape.
“So I’m originally from New York City’s Upper West Side what we like to call the upper best side of New York City so a lot of my paintings are the narrative of the culture. B-boying, MCing, DJing, partying, just the real raw flavor from back in the days,” said Justin BUA as he signs a print of boxer Muhammad Ali.
Justin moved to Los Angeles to attend the Art Center and decided to stay due to what he felt to be larger art-centric world with the benefits of having Hollywood right next door. He describes his style as “Distorted Urban Realism,” which he developed after years of writing graffiti, performing as a break-dancer, and working in the world of commercial art designing album covers and skateboards.
“So I start in a very classical way. Not a lot of artists do this anymore but I will do a drawing to get the feeling, the rhythm, the composition, the energy and the characters and then I will bust out a color key which is basically a small painting,” said BUA as he holds up a large drawing in front of the large work-in-progress painting. “It’s like a roadmap so that when I get into my bigger composition, I know where to go.”
Where Justin’s going next is a place few artists dare to tread: podcasting. Co-hosting with art historian Lizy Dastin, their weekly podcast Art Attack talks about everything from architect Frank Gehry to American painter Robert Rauschenberg.
“I think unfortunately art still has a reputation of being precious, elitist, rarefied and Justin and I together, we want to make this information and content accessible to anybody who's interested and Art Attack is this huge comprehensive archive that we really hope students and faculty members will be able to utilize,” said Lizy Dastin.
A self-described populist, Justin is further motivated by Dastin to make art available to everyone so they decided to record their 100th episode in front of a live audience.
“Our podcast is really meant for people who know a lot about art and people who are really just they don't know anything at all which doesn't matter because we just give it to them,” said Justin.
Art shouldn’t be free, but it should always be accessible.