Defending Juxtapoz

I hear a lot about how the "Juxtapoz aesthetic" is too amalgamated, how "this graffiti, looks like this tattoo, looks like this painting, looks like this..." I hear the complaint that Juxtapoz has perpetuated these styles in a broader scene and is forcing a globalized aesthetic of lowbrow and pop-surrealism. First of all, I think a lot of people use these two terms (lowbrow and pop-surrealism) interchangeably and incorrectly. My understanding is that pop-surrealism is just as it states: an art form that draws upon popular culture while being expressed visually without regard to reason or other laws of reality. Lowbrow, I believe, is a broader descriptor, encompassing art that draws inspiration from outside of the fine art world. This includes tattoos, comic books, graffiti, and animation among other sources. Back to the point. As artists become influenced by more and more of these sources, and in turn influence other artists, the pool of influence becomes incestuous and murky. I will admit that a handful of Juxtapoz's "go to artists" may represent this trend. Sam Flores, Jeff Soto, Jeremy Fish, and Bigfoot are among the chief culprits, with their clean, cartoonish figures, always looking the same with their tentacle arms or giant hands. I think that people see these artists that Juxtapoz comes back to repeatedly and attributes their style to Juxtapoz, lowbrow, and pop-surrealism. I'd love to make a list of all of the artists that don't fall into this camp that the magazine features each month, but fortunately for me, Juxtapoz has, with its latest effort, condensed my defense into one amazing issue. Sure about a third of the artists covered are typical but the other half two thirds blew me away. Go buy the new issue and check out ridiculous art by Mear One, Gajin Fujita, Anthony Lister, Kenzo Minami, AJ Fosik, and even a page featuring locals Urban Medium.


mark the bastard said...

"Sure about a third of the artists covered are typical but the other half blew me away."

hey ger. you know i love you but do the math. i hope to see you tonight. peace yo!

mike said...

Thanks Mark. You see how blown away I must have been.