There is a part of me that craves solutions. Dealing with numbers on daily basis has left me with the feeling that things should balance, that there is always a solution. However, the problem with solution based thinking is that many are looking for that instant solution, that magical pill, the convenient store fix, or the strip mall gratification. I once felt that because life can be so challenging we try to make certain things quick and easy, and thus creating a better life. Yet, it is these quick and easy things that are destroying our future way of life. Many have suggested different solutions to these problems, but perhaps raising awareness is really the only way to find a true solution.
One artist who is finding inventive ways to raise the level of dialog surrounding the pharmaceutical industry and the destruction of the what little land remains in the United States, is Sacramento, California's Justin Lovato. Justin paints distributing images of everyday life, whether we want to admit it or not. The figures in his paintings are round men and women, overweight and heavily medicated. His landscapes barren and the trees are dead and chopped down. They are slightly altered reflections of American life.
This past weekend Justin opened a group show at The ARTery Gallery in Costa Mesa, CA and next month he has a solo show opening at the Art Whino Gallery. Recently, Justin took some time out to answer a few of my questions.
Orange Alert (OA): How would you describe your work?
Justin Lovato (JL): It's a visual ranting of sorts, with a weird dream-like feel. Maybe a cartoon tv show that is funny, but not really funny at the same time. my fanciful notions on a wood panel.
OA: A common theme in your work seems to be trees, specifically barren trees. What is it about trees that you find so fascinating?
JL: Trees in my paintings usually represent nature, or the idea of natural things. I also am big on exploring places with huge trees, like the Oregon/ nor cal coast is one of my favorite places. as far as them being barren, or chopped down, that's sort of a commentary on how people can sometimes completely ignore there natural surroundings, or the natural processes of things physically and mentally, until finally you destroy these things unwittingly.
OA: One of the aspects of your paintings that I find fascinating are your detailed backgrounds. Are each of those painted or is that actual wallpaper? The affect lends itself to creating a continuous feel to your pieces, was that the intent?
JL: That definitely was the intent. It provides a balance to the background. they are actually made with a rubber stamp, it sort of gives a messy-screen print quality.
OA: I find your creature quite interesting, has there been any thought of putting together a book or possibly a short animated film based on these creatures? Where did the idea come from to create these images?
JL: These characters didn't really come from one place in particular. They have been developing in my work for a number of years. I guess you can say they are a representation of different themes and ideas i've come across. I'm compelled to interpret different human personalities I come across through these characters.the ignorant, the victims of our corporate capitalist world, I'm also fascinated with the anti-individual, pro bewildered herd mind state of our world lately.but then again, sometimes i just like to draw a weird, fucked up character. An animation is definitely a long term goal of mine.
OA: There are also several pharmaceutical references in your work. Your creatures have some serious problems. What is the purpose of the pills and needles?
JL: Thats basically my criticism of the pharmaceutical industry. If you go to the doctor, or a psychiatrist they will shove any kind of pill down your throat as long as it means they make money from it. The fda will pass meds based on faulty tests and information, Anti-depression pills can lead to suicide, Companies like bayer knowingly send disease-infested vaccines to third world countries and people die, with no repercussions and no news coverage, They put mercury in the vaccines which is proven to be a major contributing factor to children developing autism. Ihate the pharmaceutical companies.
OA: It is hard to tell from your site, but do your pieces have names? How do you approach the naming of apiece?
JL: I usually like to name a piece so it clues the viewer in as to what it's about. Sometimes the clue won't be very literal.
OA: What's next for Justin Lovato?
JL: Well, I have shows lined up until about august, and I'm just trying to stay busy painting lately. I also want to travel next year a lot more.
OA: Coffee? If yes, what is your favorite type of coffee and where is your favorite coffee spot?JL: Yes. I usually like a light roast, maybe with a cigarette. So far my fav spot locally would be the naked lounge coffee shop. I like their outside seats.
OA: Do you listen to music while you create? Who are some of your favorites while painting and in general?
JL: Anticon, dead kennedys, noah 23, slew, wormhole,casino vs. japan, blur, hendrix, john coltrane, lots and lots and lots of music.
For more information on Justin Lovato be sure to check out http://www.justinlovato.com/ for updates, shows, and he has prints for sale!