Today we’d like to introduce you to Jouvon Kingsby.
Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I’ve always been an artist as far back as I can remember. Growing up it was just my mother and I moving frequently between different cities of Southern California. I get my love for the arts and my artistic skills from my mother. She always surrounded me with books about design and photography. She is an artist herself and currently teaches art to students in Tennessee. She would draw greeting cards for family and friends which inspired me to start designing my own. When I was about ten I would go door to door in our apartment complex and sell handmade greeting cards for 50 cents. My mom would cultivate my creative mind with doodling games we played with each other throughout the day. She would draw a random scribble and I would have to design a character out of the lines. Things like this helped me see our world through artistic eyes.
After high school, I dropped out of design school and joined the U.S. Army. I became an infantry soldier in Ft. Hood, Texas. During this process, I was forced to realize and study the dynamics of our human minds. I was curious as to what made people like certain things and decide to react in certain ways when encountering life’s various situations. I wanted to know how my art could reach the soul of my viewers. I began to read books about metaphysics and psychology. My artwork began to feature a lot of symbolism and abstract ideas, which would make people curious because these objects would obviously hint at deeper meanings. Through my studies, I’ve learned that the doorway to the soul is encouraging the mind to ask the right questions. I’ve designed most of my paintings around the process of bringing those questions into the light of my audience.
After completing my time in the military I moved back to Santa Ana, California. I made friends very quickly and we would create huge art shows in empty storefronts on 4th street or Broadway. Our shows had titles like “The Box Social” or “Santa Ana Wins” and we would feature the best artists in Santa Ana. I would normally paint a huge mural to build a good vibe and attract new viewers into our gallery. I quickly began creating a name for myself and started selling paintings at every show. The shows where mostly curated by my friends Michael Ziobrowski, Federico Medina and I. We always had the biggest art shows in town. Our trio became known as the three kings of Downtown Santa Ana.
After a few years of curating shows and selling paintings, I decided to create artwork full time. It all started when I realized how good I am at painting dog portraits. I began accepting commissions every other week for about three years, fully supporting myself on my craft. About halfway through those three years, I would start doing family portraits and custom abstract paintings. I switched mediums from acrylic paints to oil paints and my prices were doubling every 6 months. Close to the end of those three years, I was working on 7 paintings at once. It was insane and I don’t know how I did it but that was probably what let up to me ending that part of my career and starting something new. So in March 2019, I bought a 12.5” iPad Pro and an Apple Pencil so I could try my hand at digital artwork, which is the medium I am currently working with. Since that purchase five months ago I’ve created five business logos and three illustrations for the O.C Weekly, one of which was the cover of their travel issue. I’m excited to see where this new avenue of ideas will take me.
Please tell us about your art.
In my work, I use whatever medium I feel will get my idea across most accurately. I will use acrylic paints if I want a quick “homemade” look for a design. With oils, I create portraits of families or pets. The digital artwork is for businesses or editorial illustrations. I am an artist of many styles. Sometimes I feel like I’m either all over the place or a well-rounded designer. Every piece I make is based around the feeling of peaceful nostalgia. I create a good memory for my collectors to revisit during each viewing. I will add whatever colors, items, or symbols needed to create the emotion I am trying to invoke. I hope these feelings inspire viewers to “be human” again in this world of fast-paced technology. I manifest positive emotions and remind people they are supposed to be free.
Do you have any advice for other artists? Any lessons you wished you learned earlier?
The advice that I tell most artists to makes your artwork for yourself. Don’t worry too much about what other artists are making or what people may think. Trust your artistic eye and create something you would like to see on your own walls. If you feel like you’re having a hard time being creative, take some time away from your studio. Take a bike ride or go on a hike with a group of friends. Sometimes your brain just needs outdoor inspiration to get your creative mind flowing again.
How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
Most of my work can be viewed online at Jouvonmichael.wixsite.com/jouvon-online-store. I’m not in galleries because all of my work is currently sold; most of them were commissions. Right now I am working digitally on most projects. If you would like to talk with me you can find me most nights in Santa Ana getting drinks from Big Mike at Proof Bar. If you would like to support my work you can hire me for a digital commission at JouvonMichael@gmail.com or donate to my studio at PayPal.me/jkingsby.
- Website: Jouvonmichael.wixsite.com/jouvon-online-store
- Email: JouvonMichael@gmail.com
- Instagram: @Jouvon7
Jouvon Michael Kingsby