Peeking through Justin Ayala’s Instagram feed — his preferred form of social media — I couldn’t help but feel as though I was being flipped off. The sentiment is present first in his very Instagram handle, “methanefarter.” It could be grosser, but it’s definitely gross enough to place it in the “look here at your own risk” camp of artists.
Secondly: sometimes it’s overt in the art, like this sketch where Ayala sends off Disneyland.
Third: it’s even here, for instance, in this photo of a wide-eyed girl impaling a strawberry.
That seems to be his overall aesthetic: it has to bite. In addition to what he creates, it’s also the art he’s drawn to.
There’s a point to be made here. Ayala says “I definitely want the viewer to feel uneasy. That’s my main goal.” And the images he works undermine a viewer’s sense of complacency about the experience of viewing art. This is Ayala’s vision of the world: complacency is strange, the daily routine of going to work and scrimping and saving for a trip to Disneyland is destructive. And for him, artistic disruption liberates.
Liberating destruction is especially evident where Ayala renders bodies. Rather, body parts. He shows off dismembered feet, displays noses, and cut-down heads that reveal brains. He talks about it with the restrained joy of a mad scientist who’s about to go downstairs and tinker on something.
“A lot of my early work would show a person with an open scalp,” he said. “If I could play with the scalp or play with the brains, what else could I play with?”
Feet, since you’re wondering.
I’m a sick fuck and I find this kind of funny.
Ayala, 19, is going for an associate’s degree in fine arts at Mission College. He lives in San Fernando and his art will go on display at the Lead Skate Shop in a show titled “Of Unknown Descent,” Friday Feb. 24. The show goes from 5 to 10 p.m.