John Westbay is a contemporary artist who was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. During his early days of experimentation and expression, he discovered his initial outlet, and built a name for himself as an emerging street artist by gaining attention and praise from the media and locals alike. His message was clear, and widely accepted by the public through its ubiquitous nature— that all encompassing thing we call “LOVE”.
Throughout his progression as an artist, with a curiosity that enjoys working with various mediums, he has made it difficult to be categorized or labeled as any specific type as he continues to grow and learn from his endeavors. Painter, print maker, street artist, designer, and tattooer are all titles that could be used to describe him; and while still being a much sought out muralist, whose work span the 5 boroughs and beyond, Westbay now works mainly with acrylic paint on large canvases, balancing time between commissioned pieces, artist series’, and personal projects. Yet, his diversity never detracts from his consistency. What ties all of his work together, in whatever medium it may be, is a steady New York City playfulness guided by his universal message of LOVE.
As the days go by, old molds and accepted norms are being shattered, especially within the context of the art world. Not having ever studied fine art in a traditional academic setting, like most well known artists before him, Westbay fully embodies the “New School” mentality and approach towards creating art from the soul, while naturally being an artist that represents the times we are living in. Westbay fits into the wave of young, talented, self-taught artists who have recognized that they have opportunities and paths to success that artists before them simply did not. With the free exchange of information on the internet, emerging artists now have access to a tremendous amount of knowledge and exposure that was not available outside of a university just twenty years ago. And so, diligent in his pursuit of artistic growth, Westbay takes great pride in constantly sharpening his skills and techniques by continuing his self-education through taking a multitude of online courses which include; Architectural design with Frank Gehry, Traditional Japanese Tattooing with Chris Garver, and Graphic Design with David Carson. “At this point, I almost feel like pursuing a fine art degree is for someone that thinks they want to be an artist, while an artist is just going to get out there and be one. True artists are rebels, they defy social norms. Picasso and Dali dropped out of art school; and that was a hundred years ago. I believe if they were alive today, they probably wouldn’t finish high school.”
Westbay has become a pioneer within the framework of creating a new mold for the modern day artist. With the rise of social media and all of its components, he has organically built and maintained a loyal following that are in constant demand of his work. Through gaining this momentum, he has also attracted the attention of international collectors with his paintings that are shown in establishments like Aced Gallery and Gallery 23, all while successfully running an online business releasing limited street wear items and artists prints through his online gallery Withlovebywest.com. In doing this, Westbay helps to Blur the lines between fine and commercial art like many of the most prolific artists of his generation (e.g., Kaws, Ron English, Shepard Fairey)
Westbay continues to seek inspiration from many New York based artists that not only made a name for themselves in the very streets that he grew up in, but that have also aided in putting New York City on the map of the global art scene. Artists like Keith Haring, Basquiat, Warhol, Julian Schnabel, and Kenny Scharf are all important figures that Westbay draws influence from on all levels; that are not just bounded by the paint brush, but have also helped shape his personal philosophy. “These guys are the reason New York City is what it is today. Just like what the post-impressionists did with Paris in the 1920’s, these guys really put New York City at the forefront in the 1980’s and made it the epicenter of the global art scene. That doesn’t just go away. Paris is still Paris 100 years later, and I believe New York City will still be New York City 100 years from now because of them.
Though the landscape of New York City has changed dramatically since its artistic golden age of the 1980’s, when it was home to those artists that he and much of the rest of the world idolize and cherish. Westbay works to keep that buzzing, artistic New York City energy alive; decades after luxury brand boutiques started replacing artist work spaces in the store fronts of lower Manhattan. As his signature LOVE murals cover more walls across the city, and his googly eyed heart character is seen on more shirts and hats of those walking by; his message is apparent and succinct. “I just want to contribute and keep this thing alive. I want to make people smile. I’m not painting the sistine chapel. What I do is pretty simple, but I believe that simplicity is what’s so inviting about my work; and the positive message behind it is the reason it resonates with people.”
If you are interested in a painting, please use the contact form or email firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information. The gallery is below 👇
❤️ John Westbay
Everything on this website was created by me with LOVE. Many are one of one, all are limited. Join my mailing list to get alerts on new items and help me get my message of LOVE out to the world. The world can use it.