Justin Bua

May 26, 2006
Posted in interviews

Justin Bua has been a graffiti artist, a professional break dancer and was even ranked the #2 ping-pong player in the nation at 12 years old!

In addition, he’s a pretty good artist. He has worked for EA Sports on video games such as NBA Street, developing both characters and backdrops.

He painted the mural for NFL Street, created the set for hip-hop group Slum Village’s video “Tainted” and even created a television series entitled, “Urbania,” a process that took over two years. He conceived and created the Comedy Central series himself.

He has also painted works such as “The DJ” and “El Guitarista,” which grace the walls of art and hip-hop fans around the world. He even finds time in his busy schedule to enlighten aspiring art students by teaching at the University of Southern California. Needless to say, Bua has come a long way from painting the bottom of skateboards to become an acclaimed artist.

Here is a pair of shoes that he designed in 2004. They sold out on the streets of Los Angeles in three hours:

Bua attended an arts high school and claims that he was one of the less talented artists. He even had the chairman of the school suggest that he stop painting. Despite the criticism, Bua kept at it. He says that the thing that gave him a competitive advantage was that he was more persistent. He was determined to overcome his talent constrictions. His hard work eventually gave him the skill set to effectively transfer the images that he saw in hip-hop culture onto canvas.

Some of the best pieces of advice that we have received on the tour were from Bua. Here are a few of his quotes:

“Leave room to grow because if you see your work as great with no room for improvement then you have already shot yourself in the foot. Be realistic and self-critical.”

“The most important lesson of my life is to believe in yourself and to do what you believe in. I wouldn’t try anything I didn’t believe that I didn’t think I would be great at. Art was the only thing I consistently came back to.”