He concedes that there has, of late, been a growing appreciation of DJs in America and he mentions an appearance of Mixmaster Mike recently on VH1. But then he asks, “Is there a growing acceptance of break-dancers? Absolutely not. Break dancers are light-years behind DJs at this particular point.”
“Hopefully through my are and through the message of my art these things will change,” Bua says/
You may notice too , when you see his paintings, what everybody else has noticed and commented on – a conscious rhythm, like a fourth dimension our senses can only detect through his art. If you ask him, he may tell you the rhythm comes from having grown up in Manhattan and break-dancing professionally for 12 years.
“My stuff is kind of break-dancing and graffiti hybridized and comes out on canvas in a very traditional, classical way,” he says.
When you look at his paintings, particularly “Como No?” you might even see his face. That’s because he paints himself into all of his work. Like Rembrandt, he doesn’t have many models to paint so he usually just looks in the mirror to find inspiration. Another reason, Bua says, is “because I want to be my characters in a certain way – they’re cool. I’m not as cool as they are and I think I’d like to be. They’re my projection of what I believe cool to be and I think ‘how can I attain that?’ and I can’t so I might as well live vicariously through my characters. They reflect the kids I grew up with, always looking up to the kid who was the DJ or break-dancer or graffiti artist who was just cool and you just wanted to be them.”
And there’s also an ethnic quality to his paintings, but it’s hard to pin down. “With respect to the ethnic ambiguity in my paintings, I grew up post melting pot,” he says, “I grew up in an era which was a melting pot already melted … in a time when you couldn’t tell if a kid was Puerto Rican, Jewish, Italian, Irish, or Black because they were all the ethnicities wrapped up into one.”
If you ask him if he’s African American, he’ll tell you he’s urban. If you force the subject asking him if he’s Jewish or Latino, he’ll say, “I’m so ethnically diverse myself – if I’m anything I’m a New Yorker. I’m trying to see beyond that, no color lines … why even go there?”
His paintings hold this “urbanity” as the color lines have vanished. And his audience is similarly as diverse.
“I’ve had 80-year old Romanian woman show up and say, ‘I’ve been a fan of yours for 10 years,’ he says. “That’s kinda weird, but totally cool. Then I have 7-year-old kids who say, ‘I love your DJ, I’ve got all your work.’”
He says college kids are the most vocal and correspond with him the most. And it was the college kids who bought thousands of prints of his painting “Green St.” after years of nobody wanting to purchase the original.