Justin Totemical (born in British Columbia) is an artist that is using his creative energies to manifest transcendent landscapes and psychedelic imagery.
With his futuristic take on natural landscapes and architectural structures, Justin has seamlessly incorporated elements of Science Fiction and Transhumanism into his works. Subtle cubist influences are woven into his pieces giving them an interesting verve and very post-modern warmth. His knack for this type of "cyber-punk" has set done much to set him apart from many of his contemporaries in the ever expanding digital art movement.
In this interview, I got a chance to learn more about Justin's influences and his interest in Science-Fiction.
Prox: Who were some of your earliest artistic influences? Does music and film impact your pieces as much as other forms of visual art?
Justin: I was always really drawn to carnival ride art, or tarot / magic artwork. I think a part of me still is, I love that mix of art-nouveau meets the mystical. I’d say that film and music can be more inspiring as a visual artist since there is some room for interpretation.
Prox: Do you ever consciously try to echo any of the themes and ideas discussed in classic Science Fiction? How has the genre managed to inject itself into your work?
Justin: I listen to a ton of audio books ranging from classic & new sci-fi, fantasy, etc. The ideas are golden and can be used as a great spring board for concepts or design solutions.
Prox: Your work seems to place an emphasis on world building. Why do you choose to depict architecture, structures, and cityscapes? Do you have a reverence for the sheer scale of the locations?
Justin: A lot of what i've been studying lately has to do with Concept art for film and game, understanding Architecture is a big part of that. I was particularly drawn to doing environments since there is a lot of beauty to find within nature or a scene.
Prox: What is it about Transhumanist ideas and themes that inspire you? How close do you think we are to what Kurzweil calls “The Singularity”?
Justin: I feel drawn to the connection between humanity and machine, I'm not 100% sure we could ever transcend our biological forms however I do think that our species will be involved with more AI & Nano technology that could benefit our lives.
Prox: I read in an older interview that you have some partial hearing loss. Could you discuss what happened and if it has at all influenced the way you work? What are some cool Transhumanist ideas that you think would be cool for people in a similar situation as you?
Justin: When i was 8 I had Meningitis that was close to life threatening, After that experience I certainly had a deeper appreciation for life. I have maybe 10% hearing left on the left ear. I've been looking into new technologies within the hearing aid communities and its always improving.
Prox: For you personally, how have entheogenic substances helped you to manifest your art, but as the name implies, connect with your our own godliness?
Justin: For me, Its important to view any entheogen as sacrament, The ceremony or ritual is just as important as the medicine itself. The Shipibo tribes have one of the most integrated practices that combine the work of medicine with art, music and healing.
Prox: Who are some of your favorite contemporary artists?
Justin: Really too many to list. Every community has different things going for it and there is so much awesome art being created. I still really love a lot of graffiti & Mural artists as well as the illustration communities. Its fun to explore everything.
Prox: Favorite Hobbies?
Justin: I’m an avid collector, I think I always have been starting with stamps and magic tricks when i was young. Right now I'm loving Vinyl albums and looking into re-kindling a physical music library.
Prox: Tips for aspiring artists?
Justin: If you think you're working hard enough, you likely are not. Its important to love the work you do as much as the process of doing it. Learn to build good habits and not be afraid to reach outside your comfort zone!
Prox: Information on upcoming projects and releases?
Justin: I'm currently working on a vector based coloring book with a few close friends, the collaborative project should be released sometime in the spring on Kickstarter! It's been a great project and we can't wait to share it.
You can learn more about Justin, purchase his work, and follow him, here.
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