Updated: Apr 3, 2019
Justice4Tyranny a.k.a JT is hands down one of my top 5 favorite living Artists at the time. The messages he channels through his work speak to me on all levels. His works to me represents the melanated (Moorish) struggle in this country exceptionally well, both metaphorically and literally. Please check out his work, especially if your on the West coast, go see it in person! Enough prattling, lets get to the good stuff.
Where ' the evil that men do lives after them and the good is often buried with their bones' I will extend to you one gift. Treasure it, for I have but this one to leave and I leave it with my whole heart only for the duration you would keep it.
-what do you think makes a person an artist?
I feel like you have to have... I feel like your brain has to be wired towards being able to see things in a way that other people, who are not artists, don't see them. A lot of the times I feel like it has to do with being able to visualize things. I feel like people who are artists have vision and people who are not artists, it's hard for them to visualize things that are not already created.
I [do] sketch my work a lot of the time. Unless it's super super clear to me, like for example I just finished a piece last night and that piece I didn't need to sketch it because I knew exactly in my head what I wanted to do. When I sketch things it is because I either want to work out the image in my head or I'm sketching the image to help explain to models. Especially, if I think that it's going to be complex for them. So I explain to them visually what I'm doing. So either I need to work out something visually or the models need to work something out visually.
-when did you know you were an artist?
Like last year hahaha. I think for me I had levels of understanding this journey. I grew up kind of creating, you know, like writing, taking photos and you know making little short films. I kind of grew up doing this. I don't think when I was young I really considered myself an artist but I didn't not consider myself an artist. I was just kind of creating art and didn't really think of defining myself in any kind of way.
My dad had gave me a Pentax k1000 to kind of keep me busy in the summer and my mom had given me some cameras. I was just always kind of into taking photos, I also used to do a lot of clay sculpting. I used to illustrate and write a lot more as well. But I never really thought like "oh I'm an artist", you know? Plus I was kind of in the streets just doing my thing, just living my life as a young person. Art was kind of just something that I did.
It didn't really crossed my mind that I was an artist until much later, when the heart just never went away. It was kind of like waking up one day and I was like oh s*** I'm an artist!
-what is your favorite medium?
The Art of Storytelling; for me everything is either about telling a story, explaining a topic like a social issue or what have you. Trying to get something out, that is a complicated idea. One of my favorite classes in high school was philosophy because I think a lot. It's that kind of critical thinking that I put into my artwork and I feel like that what sets me aside from a lot of other people that do similar things or have similar processes is my concepts, my thoughts, and my visual mapping and metaphors.
I liken what I do with visuals to what do Tupac would do with his words and his vocabulary. You know, I don't know how long it was before I realized that Pac was talking about a gun and not his girlfriend. Everything is layered!
What I do is really about banging on the system
and creating things that tell a narrative that get people to wake up or question their reality. Even the name Justice4Tyranny is about bringing justice to the system of tyranny. What's crazy is that some people I've found don't even know what the word "tyranny" means, so of course you don't even know that you live under a tyrannical government. You don't even know what the definition of the word is!
That's how much propaganda is pumped into this illusion that people have bought into, its a collective illusion. [So] when you're bursting people's bubble you're really f****** with their reality, so they are very resistant to want to accept it. Which is why I have so many layers,
the best way sometimes to expose the truth is by hiding the truth in plain sight.
Interview by Jaguar Perry