House Of Style: ‘Milk & Honey’ Author Justin Van Hoy On California Art, In His Last Interview [Video]

Justin Van Hoy was an artist. He was also a founder of THIS gallery in Los Angeles, as well as the editor of a beautiful book featuring contemporary California art called Milk and Honey. For this season of House of Style, we’d always known that we wanted to include an episode about art and when our frequent collaborator Todd Oldham mentioned Justin’s then as yet released book, we knew a segment on the L.A. art scene would be perfect.

Justin was kind enough to invite us into his studio where he walked us through the works of art that were important to him and told us stories about why. He showed us a framed poster that had hung in his father’s bedroom in high school, a portrait of his grandparents, and the scads of books that comprised his sprawling library. It’s funny because you’ll see that it’s near impossible to capture the backdrop and his face in a single frame since Justin’s a good foot taller than Todd and our crew. Fittingly, his nickname was ’The Dutch Giant.’

We spoke to Shepard Fairey, the artist under whom Justin apprenticed when he first moved out to L.A. who recalls his awesome energy. We also got a chance to interview Sage Vaughn, the artist who would create the cover art for his book. “He was my good luck charm,” says Vaughn. “I would take a picture of him in front of a piece and it would sell. That painting that we chose for the cover of Milk and Honey was the first one we did that with. It’s overwhelming to be on the cover of a book full of my heroes and friends.”

Todd and Justin have a wonderful chat, with topics that ranged from Justin’s childhood, and his influential high school art teacher, as well as his ability to not only create work as an artist and designer in his own right but to have the generosity of spirit and a discerning eye that could celebrate established and emerging artists in his gallery and book. It’s interesting to consider that any young maker of things would take an approach as analog as to forge what’s essentially a year book chronicling the goings on of a collection of people during a finite sliver of time, but we’re grateful that he did. The book, which captures what he calls his “love of the artifact,” contains work from fifty-some-odd artists including Retna, Ed Ruscha, Chris Duncan, and pages from the art zine published by clothing brand RVKA—ANPQuarterly. It’s a glorious thing to hold and pore over. “There’s more of a lasting impact with doing a book,” he says. “It’s a time capsule essentially. ”

Justin Van Hoy passed away a few days after our interview. He is remembered by his wife, Holly, and numerous artists and collaborators who recall a gracious man with a prodigious work ethic who possessed an uncanny ability to quietly connect people who would inspire each other. He was a beloved, unselfish advocate of an ever-growing art society and we are lucky to know that his legacy lives on, not only in the work that he’s left behind but the work that he will continue to inspire. There are numerous heartfelt eulogies on his friends’ websites, but you can learn more about Justin on his own site, The Dutch Press, and if you’d like to make a donation in his name, please visit City of Hope Cancer Center or learn more about the fundraising efforts of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.




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