Dave Justice


I was born in 1975 in San Francisco CA and raised alternately in the Bay Area and South Lake Tahoe. I came of age and acquired my taste for art with a broad spectrum of influence and inspiration; Hippie mom, graffiti artist cousins, silver miner great uncles. One Grandpa was an old-school ornamental glass blower, and the other worked at MJB Coffee and loved nothing in the world except for his family, MTV, and the Giants. Growing up with the explosion of hip hop, punk rock, skateboarding, snowboarding, surfing, gang and tattoo cultures, and moving back and forth from the urban Bay Area to rural South Lake Tahoe has caused my visual art to willfully and naturally reflect the melting pot they come from. I am the melting pot.
My earliest drawings were of invented G.I. Joe’s, Star Wars characters, and other action figure types. As I grew I got into more “mature” subject matter and mediums like graffiti, tattoos, and band fliers. For years the drawings disappeared and were replaced entirely by poetry and songwriting which were initially rage-driven rap-metal and punk.
Around 2002 the desire to create visual art re-emerged in me with a hardcore vengeance. When the first intentions to create wall-hangings appeared, I just kind of blindly steered toward mixed media, narrative, subjective, experimental, and often antagonistic. I was also looking for a " second home" for my writing; an alternative to songs, like illustrated poetry.
I enjoy mixing; The mixing of already existing images and elements of culture; Mixing of subjects, styles, genres, eras, and movements, and mixing media. As a painter, I like the comparison of a DJ/producer who spins old and current records, plays instruments, and makes new songs which are part invented and part interpreted, translated, and/or sampled.
I started showing my work at a small art supply/cyber store/gallery in South Lake Tahoe in November, 2004. Since then I’ve displayed at galleries, coffee shops, tattoo shops, interior design studios, jewelry stores, music festivals, and sidewalks. I’m mostly self-taught, with some college art and design courses and finally settling down to get a BA in fine art with a lot of emphasis on illustration. I’ve been commissioned for portraits, album art, concert posters, tattoos, t-shirt designs, and large murals. I currently live in South Lake Tahoe with my family and paint, write, and draw every day.