Through the tip of his brush, BUA has told the stories of a world of color, dance and music. Through his iconic muses, "The Bass Player", "Guitarrista", "Piano Man", and "The DJ" , he has described a place that was the true genesis of some of the biggest artistic styles in recent times.
But with this latest work, BUA is telling us a different story; one of a much earlier time. Long before the first MC picked up the mike, before the first rappers shot out their first rhymes and rhythms, their was a movement not too far down the road from the street corners on which BUA grew up, a movement that paved a path and changed everything that came before it, The Harlem Renaissance .
Between the 1920's and the late 1930's an explosion of art came from a people who's views of the world had been firmly bottled up for literally centuries, and was now beginning to be heard far and wide for the very first time. Literature, painting, dance and music of varieties never seen or heard before, came flooding out. The African American artist was being seen and heard by the whole country, and the world at large, for the first time indeed.
In the midst of what some call the most profound change in American art and culture, there rose up a handful of voices that delivered the spirit of the time directly to the hearts of those who were fortunate enough to listen.
From the stages such as The Harlem Renaissance Ballroom and The Savoy Ballroom , singers with voices that had the power to move ones soul became the focal point of their time. Sarah Vaughn, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and Dinah Washington (just to name a few), added feelings, rhythms, and tones that would influence music forever. The same influence that would carry us down the road to Aretha Franklin, to Diana Ross, to Lauryn Hill & Rihanna.
Groundbreaking artist Justin BUA is internationally known for his best-selling collection of images influenced by the result of the Harlem Renaissance and Urban Culture in general. Born in 1968 in New York City‚Äôs untamed Upper West Side and raised between Manhattan and East Flatbush, Brooklyn, BUA was fascinated by the raw, visceral street life of the city he saw every day. He attended the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music and Performing Arts and complemented his education on the streets by writing graffiti and performing worldwide with breakdancing crews. BUA went on to the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California where he earned a BFA in Illustration.
Starting in the world of commercial art, BUA designed and illustrated a myriad of projects from skateboards and CD covers to advertising campaigns. He developed the look and feel of the opening sequence for MTV‚ Lyricist Lounge Show, EA Sports video games NBA Street and NFL Street, and the world of Slum Village‚ award winning music video‚ Tainted‚ among others. He designed the BUA line of apparel and a limited edition shoe line with PF Flyers that sold out completely.
Currently, he teaches figure drawing at the University of Southern California, while continuing to be a leading innovator in both the fine and commercial art worlds. BUA‚ energetic and vocal worldwide fan base ranges from former presidents, actors, musicians, professional athletes, and dancers, to street kids and art connoisseurs.
As we look at his art through the experience of his turbulent youth, navigating the streets and underground worlds of the urban jungle, we recognize the powerful evolution of BUA‚ distinct style and can easily define it as the‚ New Urban Realism‚ Following in the footsteps of the great masters, BUA represents the lives of the revered and the marginalized, the heroes and the underdogs of his time in New York City during the 1970s and 1980s.In his book, The Beat of Urban Art, BUA lays out his unique vision, melding urban rhythms, graffiti, and classical art training. With an autobiographical narrative illustrated with photographs, drawings, sketches, studies, and explanations of how many of his paintings were created, this visually arresting book is about his life, his work, and the birth of Hip-Hop. The Beat of Urban Art takes you into the head of the modern-day Toulouse-Lautrec.