If you’re taking a stroll through downtown SanTana, you can’t miss Jouvon Kingsby’s art: giant, vivid faces juxtaposed with geometric shapes, their all-knowing eyes peering into the distance. You’ll find his work on doors, alleys, atop the Yost Theater, inside the Frida Cinema and at Fourth Street Market, among other spots. Some are collaborations with fellow artist Michael Ziobrowski; others are solo works.
For the Santa Ana-based painter, art has been a strong constant throughout his life: from a jumbled childhood moving from city to city to his time serving in the military. “I got out of doing a lot of stupid remedial jobs and combat missions from drawing tattoo designs for soldiers and T-shirt designs for the platoon,” Kingsby says, admitting that his first mural was in an underground bunker that belonged to Saddam Hussein. After finishing his stint for the Army, he continued to move around different cities before settling in Santa Ana in 2011.
Today, Kingsby works as a full-time artist, creating portraits of celebrities and clients’ pets and family members, represented in realistic detail that almost looks photographic. His other, more personal work is a series of surrealist paintings that feature multiple visual cues including random figures, words, images and even material objects glued to the canvas. Each piece carries its own narrative, ultimately aiming to trigger emotions of nostalgia. “Nostalgia is my main theme,” he says. “All the little pieces I [use] are to reflect and trigger the happiest moments of life [for the viewer].”
He also wants to motivate other artists to continue pushing the envelope in their work, to further the arts scene in DTSA. To aid in his goal, Kingsby will step out as silent muralist and into the role of speaker and prominent figure to help artists learn how to be fearless in their creations. “It’s partially my responsibility [as an artist],” says Kingsby. “Art can save someone else’s life.”
Check out his art at www.jouvon.com.