Justin Aversano is an artist and curator, co-founder and creative director of SaveArtSpace, a nonprofit bringing art to public spaces, especially billboards. His photographic practice combines the curiosity of street photography with the intimacy of narrative portraiture; most movingly in his book Twin Flames. A collection of 100 double portraits of identical and fraternal siblings, the book was inspired by a personal loss and a deep desire to explore the world the way twins experience it. In February of 2021, Aversano reinvented Twin Flames as a series of NFTs, which launched a whole new chapter in his creative journey and community engagement. A particularly emotional, affecting piece from the project is currently featured in Natively Digital, a significant contemporary NFT sale happening this week at Sotheby’s.
L.A. WEEKLY: When did you first know you were an artist?
JUSTIN AVERSANO: Art has always been in my life. From the earliest days in elementary school being fascinated by glyphs in archeology to making 365 projects in college, and now, curating public art exhibitions on billboards all around the world!
What is your short answer to people who ask what your work is about?
My artwork is made to honor humans and celebrate life through portrait photography.
What would you be doing if you weren’t an artist?
I would be a professional surfer and a botanist; planting fruit trees to make food accessible to everyone.
Did you go to art school? Why/Why not?
Yes, I attended the School of Visual Arts in New York City, from 2010-2014 in the BFA Photography program. It enabled me to connect with art world professionals and have all the tools to create at my disposal, while learning philosophy and humanities necessary to create meaningful concepts for my art to convey.
Why do you live and work in L.A., and not elsewhere?
Living in Los Angeles is a dream; coming from being born and raised in New York. You can surf, bike, and hike mountains on the same day. Nature is an influential force in my creative process.
When was your first show?
My first group exhibition was in 2015 at The Living Gallery in Brooklyn. And, my first solo-exhibition was in 2019 at The Storefront Project gallery in the Lower East Side of NYC called, The Cactus Diaries.
When is your current/next show?
My current showing began on June 3, with Sotheby’s for Natively Digital: A Curated NFT Sale, which is live through June 10.
What artist living or dead would you most like to show with?
Do you listen to music while you work? If so, what?
Yes, I love music! I listen to classical music by Chopin and reggae by Bob Marley most of the time.