ArtPop Artist Spotlights: Public Art Making a Difference

Our next ArtPOP artist is the Latin American phenomenon, Justin Favela! There’s no doubt that you’ve seen his work around town or at the Life is Beautiful Music Festival. He is known for his jaw-dropping, piñata-styled sculptures that express his love for his Latin heritage. Learn more about the importance of being critical of your own culture through Favela’s perspective.


A majority of your work gives homage to your Mexican heritage; What inspired you to represent this through piñata-styled murals and objects?

My art is inspired my identity, my upbringing in the southwest and my family. My work is about celebrating my culture and reclaiming my culture. I think it is important to be visible in the art world as a Latinx artist and I chose piñatas as a medium to represent myself and my experience.

According to Nevada Art, your work Popocatepetl e Iztaccihuatl vistos desde Atlixco, after Jose Maria Velasco is a critique on Jose Maria Velasco’s original painting. Explain the importance of your critique on her work.

I think that it’s important that at Latinx artists take ownership of their history and become the historians of their own culture. Many times people of color are afraid to be critical of our own culture, but if we don’t look at our own work critically we let others become the experts of our culture and erase us from the story. My work is about visibility and representation, appropriation and celebration.

Why do you think art is so necessary?

Art is a form of expression that is necessary. Art documents history and changes history. Art is disruptive and healing.

Talk about the importance of design in your work.

A lot of my work is based on neon sign design. Sign design is an integral part of the Las Vegas landscape. When I make work with neon signage as the basis, I am paying homage to the amazing graphic design and architecture that sets this city apart.

What has been your favorite response to Popocatepetl e Iztaccihuatl vistos desde Atlixco, after Jose Maria Velasco?

All of the text messages I get from my friends and family who had no idea there was billboard with my art on it. It’s a nice surprise when they see it.

Where can we find your billboard?

I think its on Craig and the 15N.

How do feel your work translated onto a billboard?

The scale is amazing! It’s giving me lots of ideas for future projects.

If you would like to apply for this great program, the call to entry is available here

By AIGA Las Vegas
Published March 14, 2018