Justin Bua Bio photograph

Born in 1968 in NYC’s untamed Upper West Side and raised between Manhattan and East Flatbush, Brooklyn, groundbreaking artist Justin BUA was fascinated by the raw, visceral street life of the city. 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 B.F.A in Illustration.

BUA’s work captures the underground urban world - its music, dance, politics, history, emotion, and cultural importance.  Like Rembrandt and Goya’s depictions of both the aristocracy and the outcasts of society, BUA documents both the icons of his time and society’s marginalized, each,

with equal reverence.  From the hustlers in “Green Street” gambling to survive, to the venerated breakdancer in the snapshot of history “1981,” he portrays dignity and strength, commenting not only on ghetto economies and the plight of those living in the projects, but the will, the creativity, and the rich culture that has been born from the inner-city. In doing so, BUA blurs the differences between heroes and underdogs, wealth and poverty. Impeccable draftsmanship, harmonized palettes, unusual perspectives, and skillfully developed compositions place BUA in the narrow class of artists who sustain the legacy of the masters.

In his first book, The Beat of Urban Art, BUA lays out his unique vision, melding urban rhythms, graffiti, and classical art training. This visually arresting book is about his life, his work, and the birth of Hip-Hop. As we follow BUA through his turbulent youth, navigating the streets and underground worlds of the urban jungle, we recognize the powerful evolution of BUA’s distinct style—“New Urban Realism With an autobiographical narrative illustrated with photographs, drawings, sketches, studies, and explanations of how many of his paintings were created, The Beat of Urban Art takes you into the head of the modern-day Toulouse-Lautrec.

Currently, BUA teaches figure drawing at the University of Southern California while continuing to be a leading innovator in both the fine and commercial art worlds.  His worldwide, energetic, and vocal fan base includes a vast range of art connoisseurs, former presidents, actors, musicians, professional athletes, dancers, and street kids.


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