Artist Highlight: Joonbug
Common Desk wouldn’t be Common Desk without art. Local artists contribute to the overall feel of our space in big ways. From giant murals to portraits of local characters, original art brings our Deep Ellum and Oak Cliff spaces to life and adds an authentic touch to each location that can’t be replicated. The first Dallas artist we’re highlighting in this new blog series has basically been with Common Desk since day 1. He’s a living legend. He’s the one and only Joonbug.
Joonbug was born in Jamaica and has the coolest style of anyone you’ll ever meet. He embraces everyone as family, and he loves sharing his creative thoughts and ideas with anyone. He can do it all– from cartoons to clothing lines to giant live murals and even film photography– his artistic abilities know no boundaries.
Joonbug started taking art seriously in high school when he met his mentor, whose seriousness about art made Joonbug realize that if you’re going to do something, you truly have to put your all into it. This really put Joonbug in his place and made him want to improve his artistic abilities.
He pursued art in college, and halfway into his undergrad program, he realized he didn’t want to work for anyone but himself– he wanted to turn his art into a career and execute it independently in order to get to the point where his life could thrive off of the art he produced.
Also during this time Joonbug created his own clothing line called Fresh Kaufee. Joon created Fresh Kaufee to inspire people to cultivate their own personal growth while embracing a sense of culture centered around the freedom to grow and experience true happiness.
Wake up and become addicted to living your dream.
| The beginning of Joonbug’s art career consisted of doing little commissions for a while– people would ask him to draw something they liked, and he would do it– it was that simple. His name caught fire in no time, and before he knew it, Joonbug was being hired for serious commissions after he graduated from undergrad.
Joonbug was based in Dallas from early 2011 until late 2014, and this is where he deeply planted his artistic roots. Joonbug met another local artist, Arturo Torres, in early 2010 at an art show here in Dallas, which David Rodriguez was the head of (Little did they know that 6 years later they would all have artwork displayed in Common Desk!).
Arturo had a similar artistic style as Joonbug, but he was more of a painter, so Joonbug decided to learn painting in exchange for teaching Arturo illustration. David invited the two artists to be a part of an Artist vs. Architect event in Dallas. Small world incident #2 is that Merrick, first formal General Manager of Common Desk and now CEO/Founder of CreateGate, was in charge of this event.
Arturo and Joonbug did an initial piece for the show, and Merrick was impressed with their work. She hit up Joonbug telling him about Common Desk and the coworking space development that was underway in Deep Ellum. Merrick ended up landing the job at Common Desk, thus introducing Joonbug and Arturo to Nick Clark, Founder of Common Desk; from there, the rest is art history.
Arturo and Joon did the first original art piece in Common Desk back in 2012, and Joonbug has been coming in regularly to keep our art current and original ever since.
When it comes down to it, Joonbug has what creatives call “the eye” that gives him the ability to execute everything he does in his own unique way.
“I like to always be busy doing something, and I don’t want to get burned out on one of my directions. If I get frustrated doing one thing, I’ll go to the next thing that’s a part of me.”
The thing that Joonbug is probably most known for is his ability to illustrate personalities. His characters are fusions of people he’s met, cartoons he’s read, and ideas that develop here and there, which all seem to intertwine over time. Depending on how a character looks when he draws it, he’ll create a voice and quirky personality for it by putting himself in the illustration’s shoes. His characters are always a black sheep personality, having their own style, and never caring about who’s looking– which is something we can all look up to.
Joonbug recently started experimenting with film photography, and now he and his camera are basically inseparable. His shots are raw and timeless, truly exhibiting a sense of culture.
“I feel like the aspect for which people like my work is not because I’m able to do it with my arms, but because of my eye for it. It all starts with my eyes, feeling it with my mind, and then it becomes execution.”
So, if you haven’t noticed, we’re really big fans of Joonbug, Lenworth McIntosh. At any given moment inside our space, you’ll probably see Common Desk staff and members reppin’ Fresh Kaufee original swag or verbally bragging about his various works of art in the space to new guests. So keep an eye out- you just might see his work in a Dallas mural near you.