For more information on
Jouvon Michael Kingsby
and his artwork, visit his
After transitioning from an art school dropout to aspiring actor/model to spending 15 months in Iraq, it’s safe to say Jouvon Michael Kingsby is a completely new kind of artist. This Orange County muralist has plenty of stories to tell:
What led you to joining the army?
I got kicked out of art school in my first semester... At the time, I wanted to be a model or an actor... I took the train to LA and walked to Hollywood. I spent a few weeks literally sleeping on the street and going to open calls throughout the city. Long story short, I didn’t find any work; mainly because I was unprepared. My aunt's boyfriend, who was an airport police officer, found me sleeping at LAX airport on a bench near a terminal going to New York. I was going to live with a friend in Harlem and find work. They brought me home and I stayed with my grandparents for a few weeks until they suggested I join the army. My grandfather is an army veteran. I enlisted into the army infantry, summer 2005. I was 19 at the time.
What is your background in art? Are you self-taught?
I’ve been drawing since I was a kid. I used to read Calvin and Hobbes and watch Bruce Blitz videos; I wanted to be a cartoonist. My mother is also an artist; I would borrow her art supplies and read her art books. She always took me to Barnes & Noble to get new art books like How to Draw Cartoons for Comic Strips by Christopher Hart. I eventually started drawing more serious Marvel-style comics and started to teach myself proportion and anatomy. In high school I would draw girls that were in my class or pages from magazines, mostly faces and hairstyles. I also paid a lot of attention to fashion. I taught myself how to paint after learning the basics in my first semester of art school.
And you continued your art in Iraq?
One day my squad leader came back from a mission with a bunch of house paint so I could paint a mural in the smoking area. We were on an FOB, which is basically a base we built so we could go out and operate in our area away from the main base. Our FOB was one of Saddam Hussein’s old bunkers.
You've said your art philosophy consists of freedom, fashion and travel. Where does the fashion come in?
Fashion comes in when monitoring the pulse of trends. I use it to define a style I want to use in certain paintings.
Where else have you traveled?
I’ve been to Germany, Kuwait, New York, Georgia, Nevada, New Jersey, Texas, Guyana, and Mexico.
Where can people view your art?
Some paintings are on my website. People are always welcome to visit me at my studio in Santa Ana.