A Gift from Us to You with Justine Diaz

Justine is an artist based in Toronto. Her practice features tattoos and illustrations. Influenced by music – her work showcases her sharp eye for details: fine lines, shading, and text to create illustrations of objects that range from realistic to kitschy.

Justine - thank you for being our feature artist this month! For those who aren't familiar with you and your work, can you give us a lil self-introduction?

I’m a Toronto-based artist focusing mainly on tattoos and love painting portraits and pottery on the side! 

A while ago we asked you to create something inspired by this month's intention – what are your personal thoughts on change? 

Change is honestly kind of scary to me. I’ve been through so much the past few years and although lots of positive things have happened, it sometimes feels like the bad outweighs the good because of how long it takes for me to move on and heal. But for the most part, I found that I’ve become stronger after leaving toxic relationships and work environments, which in turn brought more blessings and abundance into my life (sounds cheesy but it’s true!!)

What's the process like for this month's tech art? 

I used Procreate on my iPad to do these digital drawings! I usually paint with acrylic and gouache on canvas and use my iPad specifically to design tattoos, but I’ve been experimenting even more with digital work over lockdown. I chose these flash inspired drawings based on my favourite bands, Paramore and Joyce Manor, because of the impact their music has made personally for such a huge part of my life, especially when my mental health was at its lowest a few years ago. It’s bittersweet listening to their music now but looking back on my art back then as well as where I was mentally, it makes me happy to see how far I've come and the positive changes that have happened since then.

How did you get started in tattoo art and illustration? 

I’ve been an artist my entire life and went to OCAD University for the Illustration program. Tattoos have always been one of my main interests and I love getting them myself, so 3 years ago before I graduated, I applied for an apprenticeship at my first studio and ended up getting hired a couple of weeks later just hours after convocation! I’m now a full-time tattoo artist currently working at Vision Seeker Studio.

Are there areas of your practice that you're especially interested in currently?

I really miss tattooing! It’s my favourite practice and it’s unfortunate that I haven’t been able to work much this past year because of the multiple lockdowns. Besides that, I love pottery and making vases. I took ceramics as an elective during my last semester in school and it’s such a fun and rewarding (but risky!) medium.

We love music over here at Self Love Club - what are you listening to lately?

I love Citizen’s newest album, also been listening to The Front Bottoms and 2516 by Luna Li on repeat.

You can connect with Justine via Instagram.

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