We had the good fortune of connecting with Justin BUA and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Justin, what habits do you feel helped you succeed?
The habit that helped me succeed is my “grinding mentality” and my hardcore work ethic. Like Picasso said, “inspiration exists but it has to find you working.” He also said, “a lazy artist has never produced a great piece of work.” So TRUE!. When I’m sitting in front of a blank white canvas often times I feel stuck, and I just don’t want to do anything except reward myself with a hot cup of coffee… My creative block feels almost insurmountable. But, I know I’ve been here before, I know what to do… I ’m able to push through because I have good work habits. I’ts not really about inspiration it’s about habit. Like Will Durant said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My art celebrates the love of HipHop. I paint the narratives of the culture because I grew up in the beginnings, as it was being birthed. Therefore i paint those nascent moments and set these worlds in a historical context.
Growing up in NYC I started out writing Graffitti on the streets and trains while
dancing with breaking crews touring all over the world. So the culture runs through my life’s blood.
What sets me apart is the fact that I was the first artist to paint and visually document these historical scenes and make them available to the world in a massive way. My DJ has sold over 13 million prints worldwide because I was able to make my work available and accessible to the people.
Nothing in my career has been easy. Failure is normal. What sets me apart is knowing that every time I get knocked down I gotta get up and course correct. For example when I released my DJ painting no distributors wanted to touch it.
NO ONE understood why an archetypal DJ character of hip hop could possibly sell!?? They all thought it was an insular subcultural painting that was cool but was completely unrelatable for the mass market. Over time they realized that there was a powerful built in community of people that loved the culture and needed this image because it represented our world.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
No doubt I would bring them to the Hollywood farmers market. It has the best produce in the world and some of the best finger foods in LA of family owned business’. All that being said you never know who you’ll run into. I met my beautiful wife there many years ago
Then I would take them to the Petite Ermitage Hotel to the cozy and swanky pool rooftop to enjoy dinner and the views of the hollywood hills.
It’s truly one of the best locations to take in all of LA.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My Mom. Along my journey she always believed, had my back and was encouraged my art. She’s a real New Yorker who tells it like it is and doesn’t sugar coat. She’s a straight G.