As Justin Lovato sets on installing his latest solo show, ‘This Too Shall Pass’ at Gallery Heist in San Francisco, fellow artist Ryan de la Hoz sits down with the newly transplanted Lovato to discuss music, art, airbrush, movies and the upcoming show. Interview and show preview below.
1. Introduce yourself, name,age, location
Justin Lovato, 25 years old, Berkeley.
2. Can you describe your path to being an artist? When did you really get into it?
I’ve been drawing since I can remember. I collected comic books as a kid and played a lot of video games so I started drawing from that and all of the characters from cartoons and other things I was surrounded by. In middle and high school I was a bored, angry, contrarian type dude that liked drawing and I was naturally attracted to graffiti so that was a big influence on me. Its fun to just go out with your friends and destroy things, steal paint and art supplies or explore places you’re not supposed to be. I didn’t really concentrate on making paintings until right after high school when some friends and I decided to have a show at a local skate shop. Then I started going to art shows in Sacramento, namely at this place called the Toyroom when they were still open. They showed a lot of awesome lowbrow art and stuff like that. After that I started drawing and painting with a little more thought, and I have been producing more and hopefully better work ever since.
3. One of my favorite things about your work are the airbrushed accents. How long have you been experimenting with the medium?
I have always used aerosol in paintings and I was helping my parents clean out their garage a couple years back and found an old airbrush that my dad used for drafting or something back in the day. I use it really crudely i think, just for little highlights here and there. I used it pretty sparingly in this new show actually.
4. How has moving from Sacramento to Berkeley affected your life and work?
I love living in the Bay. It’s opened me up to so many interesting people, art, and ideas. Sacramento’s great, but it’s nice to experience something new. I live in a peaceful little neighborhood and I think that makes it easy to just submerge myself in my work while still being able to go experience all the awesome shows and hang out with really talented hard working people. Having access to a world of working artists and an ever growing art community has been invaluable, I feel lucky to be here. Also, Berkeley has some of the best veggie food I’ve ever had.
5. Is music a part of your studio time? What do you listen to?
It is, I listen to a lot of different stuff but lately I’ve been listening to Alice Coltrane, and John Coltrane, Thelonius Monk. Also BMSR, Pete Seeger, Vetiver, and this awesome band called the silver apples. I also download a lot of podcasts and I’ve also been really enjoying listening to the talks of this dude named Robert Anton Wilson while I work. I also watch the shit out of some ancient aliens whilst working.
6. What is(are) your favorite(s) movie(s) of all time and why?
American Splender for its depressing but beautiful vibes and it’s awesome soundtrack. Lord of the rings, of course. I may or may not have cried at the end. I also have the Ed Wood box set, I think his movies are fascinating and hilarious. Oh, and Fantastic Planet is really cool. I am probably forgetting a lot of movies I love. I also like documentaries and conspiracy docs, dive down that rabbit hole, there’s some creepy weird stuff going on out there.
7. Now let’s talk about your upcoming show at Gallery Heist on August 6th. What was your reasoning for calling the show “This too Shall Pass?”
I wanted to put forward the idea that nothing is permanent. It’s an exciting and scary idea at the same time. Everything ebbs and flows so their is both hope and despair in the title. It references new experiences and new idea constructs. Their is a lot of shifting, dissolving, disintegrating imagery in the show. It’s still in my usual context of a dreamy etherial realm, also representing our inevitable passing into the great unknown mystery, or experiencing some sort of redefining mind fucking moment like a psychedelic journey or a UFO experience.
8. What do you have planned for the space?
I’ve got some big new colorful pieces I’m going to be showing along side a video installation and some mural work to accompany the new paintings. Drinks will be served…