Kingsby painted his first mural during a military tour in Iraq—inside Saddam Hussein’s bunker. This ability to paint anywhere has aided him greatly, whether he’s working at the Jazz Reggae Festival at UCLA; honoring his inspiration, Jean-Michel Basquiat, at the Fullerton Museum Center; or composing on the walls and doorways of downtown Santa Ana. Within the confines of his tiny bedroom-art studio, he has been tackling a different kind of commission: portraits. People, pets, you name it.
The sublime image here of Swami Sri Yukteswar Giri (the revered late 19th, early 20th century yogi) shows the uncanny way he preserves personality on canvas: his subject floating still amid bubbling, chaotic color; the almost 3-D effect that gives the depth and suggestion of photorealism; finally, a devotion to the intentionally imperfect, catching the tilt of the head. Kingsby winks and calls himself a “gateway drug to the art world,” hoping his painting inspires a greater appreciation of the form. “The most important issue is just to get people to like art in the first place. … I’m an everyday person. I know what people like to look at.”—Dave Barton
See It! Kingsby’s Santa Ana studio is open by appointment only. Email him at email@example.com or visit his website, jouvon.com