Justin Favela is starting the next chapter of his art practice. After over a decade of exploring what it means to be a queer, Guatemalan-Mexican-American making art and culture, Justin is reflecting on where he’s been and imagining what happens next.
At the core of Justin’s art practice is his investigation of traditional Mexican or Latin American craft—specifically cartoneria (more commonly known as piñata making).
Justin has become recognized for his sculptures and large-scale installations that combine an obsession with pop culture with a side eye towards art history—imagine a life-size pinata-style lowrider sculpture, or an entire gallery covered floor-to-ceiling with a fringed tissue paper installation remixing José María Velasco’s landscape paintings. You’re pulled in by the spectacle of color and movement, and you leave thinking, “I didn’t see this like that before.”
This conversation about art and culture with the broader public is important to Justin’s practice. His groundbreaking podcast Latinos Who Lunch (on which he is known as “Favy Fav”) is a collaboration with art historian, curator, and friend, Emmanual Ortega (aka “Babelito”). Over its 5-year run, Latinos Who Lunch has expanded the dialog at the intersection of art and Latinx representation and identity for audiences across America.
Wherever Justin goes to construct his commissioned installations, podcast listeners-turned-art-lovers will show up to volunteer to cut piñata paper, build sculptures, meet Justin in person, and bond over lunch breaks. Today, to invite Justin is to also invite his entire community: his family, who travel the country to participate in his Family Fiesta performances; his dearest friends and chosen family, who act as project managers and documentarians; those who’ve met Justin through his podcast; those who know him through encounters with his art.
Justin’s work has been exhibited throughout the U.S. and internationally. He has participated in numerous residencies, and has curated exhibitions and co-produced unique projects like Live in America. He is the recipient of the 2018 Alan Turing LGTBIQ Award for International Artist, and a recipient of the Joan Mitchell Fellowship.
This is his first monograph.
Justin Favela: Fantasía/Fantasy, A Decade of Practice 2011-2021 documents ten formative years of Justin's vibrant and varied art practice and personal growth.
The book features over 300 pages of content, including never before published images and materials from Justin's archive, new essays by Latinos Who Lunch co-host & art historian Emmanuel Ortega and LGBTQ & Latino/a studies scholar Erika Abad, as well as interviews with artists, curators, collaborators, and family & friends who have played important roles in the artist's practice.
Produced with attention to craft and detail, Justin Favela: Fantasía/Fantasy, A Decade of Practice 2011-2021 is printed on newsprint as a nod to the everyday materials Justin uses in his works. Measuring 8"x9", the book also includes sections with illustrations by designer Edith Valle printed in vibrant colors on a risograph printer, and is bound with an exposed smyth-sewn binding inside a custom hand-made cover.