Insofar as we all know how I feel about art with a text background, it should come as no surprise that I’m posting Justin Ayala’s Bust of Augustus wearing the Corona Civica.

In this oil on newsprint artwork, Caesar’s noble visage overlays what seems to be a list of books. I like the black and white, making me focus on shade, tone, contour, and the soft smoothness of Caesar’s face. I’m struck by the apearance of negative space, in the way the tones of Caesar’s face on the left fade into aligning with the hue of the canvas, the way Caesar’s hair seems to just make way for the words underneath. The dark clouds on either side of Caesar hang around to define the outline of his figure and increase the sense of negative space.

Justin, true to form, invokes us all to “Seek pain and misery. Complete the human experience.” I guess he’s right? I trust he’s okay. I’d like for his Instagram account to stick around.