Interview: Justin Angelos

After my initial interaction with Justin Angelos’ work at Stripe Men, I really wanted to interact with him a bit. His work is so rooted the kind of nostalgia and abstracted relationships we have with celebrities that I felt like I wanted more. Maybe I knew I would never get an answer from O.J., Bruce Lee or Sylvester Stallone, but Justin was in reach.

Interview: Justin Angelos


Justin, can you tell us a bit of your story of becoming an artist.

I grew up in the back of my mom’s florist shop in southern California. I’ve always been into art in some fashion and her influence still comes through in my work. I dabbled in t-shirts when I was younger and did street stuff for stickers and sculptural installs. I think I got serious about my art about ten years ago. I haven’t conquered the art world yet, but I just keep plugging away, trying to stay original and give people something strange and interesting to look at.

What is it about collage in particular that inspires you to produce art?

It’s weird, I’ve always been into taking one thing and making it into something else. Collage, as well as assemblage, lends itself perfectly to what I am trying to create.

I expressed some of my own ideas in my show review of Heros & Zeros, but what do you hope to communicate through your art?

Life and people are complicated and not always what they seem on the surface. We all have baggage or demons that we battle within.

Celebrities, athletes and film-characters were featured prominently in your Heros & Zeros show. Is there a clear definition, in your mind, as to which of the personalities featured fall into which category?

We live in a celebrity driven culture. Our idols are much more than the hit song, act or accomplishment we praise. A Heisman trophy winner can also be a murderer; a rockstar a sex offender etc.

Where do you find the inspiration for your particular pieces?

Many times within the pages I’ve collected my imagery from.

Could you share a specific example?

OJ and the TigersMy “OJ and the Tigers” piece is personal. During his murder trial I was working for my mother, who was obsessed with every detail. Everyday, she would watch the televised media circus. I’ve always been interested in the fall of our so called heroes. My mom was my hero and her demons got the best of her through alcohol and drugs. She died twelve years ago and took her pain and sorrow to the grave.

Do you see your work as being strongly gendered? It seems quite masculine to me; at least the work I’ve seen from the past year or so. If so, is it intentional?

For this show, I definitely pumped up the testosterone. I wanted the work to fit well in the aesthetic of Stripe Men, so I tapped into what it was like to be a male growing up idolizing celebrity culture.

When is your next show?

I have a few things coming up. A solo gig in Salt Lake City at the Tin Angel Café running through July and I have a few pieces in a group show at the Hive Gallery as well.

In your opinion, is Santa Cruz a friendly area for artists?

Yes. I think with such an interesting mix of people in Santa Cruz just about anything goes, creatively.

Which local artists inspire you?

Jack Howe is one of my favorites.

What local artists would you like to see get more exposure?

Don’t know enough to have an opinion.

Is there a creative or tangible way that someone reading this article could have an impact on your work or the exposure that your work receives?

Not sure about the impact, but I hope, like yourself, they will see collage taken to another level through my work and definitely spread the word.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I’m glad I was able to sway your opinion about this type of work.
Thanks for the interview and BUY MY STUFF!

I definitely appreciate Justin taking the time to answer a few questions about his work, and you should definitely check out his stuff through the social media links on his site. You can find out more about Justin through the following portals:



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