Our current local artist showcase (June to September 2017) is none other than Liquid Amber Mama, Justina Kervel. Other than opening the doors of Liquid Amber in 2001 and being a tattoo artist for nearly 20 years, Justina also works in a multitude of other mediums, as you can now see on the walls of Liquid Amber Tattoo & Art Collective!
This current series is Justina's most recent work of paintings on pine and canvas, aptly named: "Horns - Beauty In The Beast"
When you are painting these gorgeous horned ladies, where do you draw your inspiration from? Are they living in your mind or do you base their characters off of something?
"The inspiration for this series of horned ladies was born from a period of reflection and growth within myself after a life changing car accident 5 1/2 years ago. From this accident I was left with chronic daily migraines and
neck pain that I viewed as MY BEAST. Through this dark time I would often turn to fantasy movies to pass the time and take my mind off the pain and fatigue. After watching I would lay and imagine the paintings that would
spawn from these fantasy worlds as my only outlet. So when I was finally able to do some art work, these ladies, or beauty in the beasts, were a way to express the healing within myself and accepting MY BEAST as a part of me.
The paintings show the strength it takes to go through chronic pain and to reconnect with myself and others again. They also show the acceptance of the change that took place and that I could embrace my new life, beast and all."
As you are known for your main medium of tattoos and paintings, a lot of people don't know that woodworking is also in your bag of tricks. How did this become an integration into your art?
"Through the healing process I introduced woodwork as a way to reconnect to my body again. It was a way to move and create at the same time and then eventually became a part of the medium I used to create this series. I like to change up the medium that best suits the feeling and textures i’m trying to get across in a series."
How long have you been working on the 'Beauty in the Beast' series? Was there anything you discovered during this process?
"This series took just over two years to fully piece together with breaks in-between. Each piece was so interesting as it really reflected where I was within my healing and also was a way to see myself as a part of this world again. When you go through such a dark period in your life you end up mourning the person you use to be. It’s hard to see what is to come when you are in anger, fear and sadness. Everyone has a side to them they wish they could fix or even take away. They struggle to make THE BEAST a part of themselves. I thought after the car accident I could no longer be whole, that I was always going to have this weakness separating me from
everyone else. It is now through this series that I realized there is such beauty to the beasts. I realized that with each painting created the strength and light I needed to see within myself was always there and I learned to
accept all of me."
Your tattoo work has often been described as 'painterly', do you find that painting on various mediums adds to your technique in tattooing? Or perhaps the other way around?
"I have always found that mixing your mediums makes you an all round better artist and gets your creative juices flowing. Tattooing has given me better organization skills in creating series in painting and painting has given me creative freedom in tattooing. Sometimes I don’t know a tattoo is even possible to do before i draw or paint it out."
What are your goals for your art in the next year?
"My goals for any art is to grow and thrive using art to connect people, evoke emotion, and wake up the spirit within us all."
See Justina's latest work on the walls of Liquid Amber Tattoo & Art Collective until Sept 1, 2017.
All pieces are one of a kind and range in price from $175 - $300.