From Jamaica to the Bay, Joonbug’s Illustrated Journey [Interview + Mini Doc]
So, I’m starting to realize that yes, I may have a blind bias when it comes to my friends, but the honest to God truth is that I'm fully convinced that I'd think they were the coolest even if I didn't know them personally. Insert Joonbug. A few years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting the artist and entrepreneur at a Mia's Closet event. Looking back, it comes as no surprise that I met him at the arts station where he was face-painting for the kids. We got to talking, and I was immediately sold on his awesome illustrations (Bugs87) and apparel line which happens to be named Fresh Kaufee. We both got a kick out of the coffee connection, and thanks to social media, I've been able to follow his journey ever since. He recently released a mini doc by KQED Arts titled: From Jamaica to the Bay, Joonbug’s Illustrated Journey, and I couldn't be more flattered for the opportunity to be a part of sharing his story.
Below you'll find a candid interview from the man himself making waves from here to San Fran and beyond. Wishing you all the best, Joonbug! Peace, Love & Sunshine ~ Chels
What it was like for you growing up as a kid?
From my Journey, I wish you were a fly on the wall because I suck at explaining feelings and it was something that had to be felt. My time in rural Jamaica was gold and without it, I don’t think I would have developed my understanding for life now; the small details to the big picture. I was a definite product of my environment, more necessity and less materialistic, I didn’t have much but used what I had to get where I want. However I’m grateful for came to the US when I did because I was able to be a sponge in both worlds.
Was art always a natural thing or did you develop it intentionally? Was your family supportive of this dream?
Haha, the world ain’t setup to support art like it should. My folks thought it was cool but ultimately didn’t put stock in until I was able to prove myself; I get it but damn. I had dreams of doing the agency route; because I once thought money was equivalent to success. Over time, my perception changed to a more developed concept of success and that’s creating a sustainable situation out of your passion. I love creating art and meeting people so here I am in a situation that’s a reflection of that.
The struggles (if any haha) of pursuing your dreams?
I call them the beautiful struggles, it hurts so good. Lol. The five, in my case, were:Little support from loved ones was hard but looking back, it made me go harder. Juggling life and art was new but I got used to it. Formal training—sometimes it got to me that I had little knowledge about design rules but then I was like f*** it; that stuff can be taught anyway. I am my own worst critique; needing endless improvement, sometimes I can’t settle and it eats away at me lol.
5 tips you'd give to someone inspired by your work and clueless on where to start.
5 bits of advice I won’t explain:
- Roll with the punches
- Does it really matter?
- Your work ethic gets you farther than you think.
- You are what you eat.
- Surround yourself with good energy.
My ideal joys:
- Music is something I love and there’s no one box I can fit in so I love it all.
- Same with artists, abstract stuff is cool but I’m really into weird figurative works. Color use – some say I have a coffee pallet and that’s fine, muted colors and earth tones.
- FOOD—Caribbean food is at the top, everything else underneath. I watch what I eat, so I prefer to cook mine.
- Color use – some say I have a coffee pallet and that’s fine, muted colors and earth tones.
- Traveling—new experiences over complacent dwellings
- I like working in solitude, a desk lamp and an open window late into the early morning.