“I don’t really consider myself a portraitist. I consider myself (as true as I can be) a painter of todays human condition. I want to develop a visual vocabulary and medium to which painting a portrait or a vase of flowers would give the same sense of four time. I chose the face because it is the most direct.”
Penetrating and disfigured looks. Eyes that look at the depth and see right through you. Broken faces that make perfect sense. Each picture tells a different story to a different person. Infinite reflections for a single painting. If this is not the definition of art, then I do not know what it is. Justin Bower is one of the most celebrated artists of his generation, with exhibitions all around the USA. From Miami Basel to LA Art show & Unix Gallery in New York, his very particular and recognizable work is admired and demanded around the globe.
I allow any technique into my oeuvre if it serves my purpose.
My art has always been about the contemporary, I don’t know how to do anything other than paint for today.
I see these subjects as an androgynous, liminal everyman/woman that are fractured, existing in many places at once, that are on the verge of either becoming or disintegrating. They are examples of my studies into the emerging new definitions of humanity.
Even though the face is disfigured, it’s still beautiful. That takes a lot of talent. What’s the story behind this?
I like beauty in shocking, dynamic and sometimes ugly things.
“As a student in Tucson Arizona, I happened to live in an apartment complex above a hospice. I lived literally above death and saw it daily. I would leave that place and follow the Hells Angels as a quest for a reason to live… I would soon be struck in the head with a tire iron and be hospitalized for some time. After I graduated, years later I would be stabbed walking two women home for the night, to which prompted me to go to Graduate school. After graduating I then would be honored to show at ACE Gallery, to which would follow a series of the most anxiety ridden years due to the owners onerous ways of doing business. Through out all these traumatic events, they were turning points in my life and in turn, it had a major affect on the work.”
My signature is painting images that resonate today
“I suppose everything I see becomes potential inspiration or tools I should say. I’m an image scavenger, so I pile up what I think is interesting and edit down to what resonates with my project or me aesthetically.”
How do you feel when you see your work in a gallery?
Excited, critical, stupid, brilliant, fulfilled and deferred to the next body of work.
Is it important for you that people understand the meaning behind your art?
No, I hope the images resonate in some way, maybe they take it home and apply it to their own experiences. I want them to feel that in no other time could these images be made or at least resonant only to today.
The vibrant colors reflect the saturation of the inorganic plasticity of the virtual, advertising and contemporary life.
A life without art would be psychotic… After all, what are we fighting for?
“Art is an exercise in endurance kids, lace up the running shoes”.
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