Life and Work

So first of all, I just want to say thanks for stopping by. There's a very good chance if you are bothering to read this page that I talked with you at a public exhibition. I have sold thousands of pieces and prints over the years and talked with many of you over the course of hundreds and hundreds of hours. I consider many of you my friends at this point. Almost everyone that has purchased an original I talked with for an hour or so, and that has turned out to be a really nice part of my life. Thank you for letting me into your life, and your homes.

I really try to match something you have never seen before, with the size, price, and an artistic quality above the other similar available options. That of course requires the conversation that usually takes place, and why I'm always one of the artists out front talking with customers most of the time. Taking your projects and talking over what I have at an exhibition has really helped my work grow into something that anyone can value five minutes or fifty years from now without me being there.

There was a point in my life where I was driving down the road and I realized I knew how almost everything I saw was created, the material, basic manufacturing process, and the industry needed to back up the workflow of labor required. My mother pointed to a sign in an elevator some years ago and I said extruded thermoset phenolic, non-structural colored polymer reinforcement, router cut face, cnc lettering and logo design, filled with non-metallic yellow mica epoxy-based paint. For a decade and a half since college I have looked up so many different paint pigments, additives, binders, and their respective disciplines to make sure nothing was going to degrade the paint film that I learned how everything else was made. I think it is this use of nontraditionally art based materials that have helped my work develop down a unique path and helped me to win some of the prizes or get my work into the places that I have. The painting process itself requires you to really be able to observe the most minute visual changes in your subject in order to translate it onto a flat surface. That in turn requires you to understand how the optic nerve and visual cortex works, and of course practice being receptive. I can just see one of the old polymaths learning to paint and then inevitably going through this same journey.

These days I do mostly semi-abstracted landscapes, cityscapes, and still life if it tells a fun story. I completed a painting recently of all of the ingredients of lemonade without the completed lemonade itself. The story behind it was I tried to imagine what was an iconic thing that represented a happy home. The two things that stuck out were chocolate chip cookies and milk, or lemonade. Cookies didn't have the makings of the painting I wanted, and a lemonade stand is really about the cute kids not the lemonade itself. So I used a slightly reflective additive, strong darks, and limited color palette to really show off the idea of the stuff we use to make a happy home. A painting is after all stuff we use to make our homes happy inviting places. I chose a very fine art style for that piece so it could sell on its artistic merits alone in case the idea didn't connect as well as it did for me, but this is an example of my process so you can sort of glimpse into what I'm thinking from a creative standpoint. I do a lot of these river scenes where the water is all rendered out realistically and the sky, bank, and sides are made of this layering process of ceramic materials and acrylic that sparkle like diamonds. A unique process that really cannot be seen by camera because it captures each individual piece of material and winds up just looking like dots instead of the misty dreamscape of blurred edges I intended.

I have created so many unique pieces using my knowledge of disciplines outside art that don't photograph well like taking a picture through glass. Along with the fact that more then 80% of my work is not just original, but one of a kind I cannot reproduce, I do little with puting my work online. Instead I focus on trying to bring something to the show that will be worth your time. Something more then just a painting of a field with trees, or a vase of flowers, even beautifully rendered these things are simple to create for a professional painter. I used to sit down for 6 to 8 hours and see if I could create a small-scale version of Girl with a Pearl Earring, Mona Lisa, etc, and it is really not that difficult if you just want to capture the essence and not the details. I realized that I wanted my work to be more then just traditional correctly rendered subjects, and my journey began.

I think it is obvious to most I really do enjoy talking with people passionate about art. I mean passion enough to actually buy an original piece and put it up in their home is passionate. I hope I can get the chance to meet you, and in turn enjoy the amazing art community we have in this country. I try to get to every person I can and chat about this adventure of exhibitions I have made my lifes work.

Travel Safe, Live Well, and Thank You

Justin Sato