By CJ Troxell
Published Issue 078, June 2020
CJ is a San Diego-based artist and muralist whose work focuses on connected yet contrasting elements of life; old versus new, life versus death, beauty versus grotesque, in attempt to convey feelings of impermanency and imperfection in the viewer. His art shows an appreciation of life’s inherent duality between these extremes. This duality is the commonthread of all life, yet seldom acknowledged. His paintings challenge Western ideals of beauty and perfection by including evidence of aging; decay, suffering, and ultimately death. He is inspired by the Japanese ideas, or cultural concepts, of “ichi-go ichi-e,” which translates roughly to “this time only, once in a lifetime, just as we are,” as well as “wabi sabi,” which is the acceptance and appreciation of transiency and imperfection in life. According to this concept, nothing is complete, nor permanent, and is often linked to Zen Buddhism and Japanese tea ceremony.
His intent is for the viewer to tune out both past and future, surrendering entirely to the essence of the painting in that exact moment. Each painting is to be seen as a window, looking through and connecting with nature on a visceral level.