Known for his colorful paintings and rich use of textures, artist Ron Giusti takes inspiration from a myriad of sources. Pop art, graffiti, and even vintage Chinese takeout containers figure in the painter’s rich catalogue of sources, resulting in work that’s colorful, joyous, and even a bit tongue in cheek.
We spoke with Giusti about his career, the artists who keep him pushing forward, and his favorite trends in the art world right now. See what he had to say, and be sure to shop his work on Chairish as well as a selection of curated Chairish favorites as well.
How would you describe your personal style as an artist? Where do your inspirations come from?
I am inspired by so many sources; at times it can be overwhelming. There are days when ideas, song lyrics, and random thoughts are competing for attention — I’m typically out of bed by 3:30 am. The modern greats have left a significant impact on my personal style: Warhol, Kline, Basquiat, Rothko, Lichtenstein, Pollock, Takashi, Kakinuma.
My Mini paintings are inspired by Kline and Kakinuma and I love their bold simplicity, standing alone or in a grouping. The Kokeshi Doll Heads was where the Mini Collection began, and inspired the rest — Abstracts, Hearts, LOVE, and my newest pieces Wagasa (based on Chinese/Japanese umbrellas) and Hebi (which is my Japanese birth symbol).
My larger graffiti-esque paintings are a throwback to my career as a creative director. Seeing items in different contexts provides depth and dimension to those elements. I’m heavily inspired and influenced by the masterful way Asian culture can make simple items so elegant and combine ancient themes in vibrant and modern works — it’s gorgeous. On most of my bigger pieces you will see Chinese takeout cartons, origami animals, chopsticks, and vintage Chinese matchbook art — they represent the culmination of thoughts I jot down, song lyrics playing in the moment, random logos I liked. You’ll find I like to repeat visual elements — this is a nod to my personal style — that there are many sides to me. If I had to sum up my art, they are snapshots from my mind over the course of days, months, years, and my whole life.
Who are some of the artists you most admire, and how does their work influence what you do?
Currently Nino Yuniardi, Hyangmok Baik, Sidney Taylor Teodoruk, Joelle Somero, Tina Berning, and Adébayo Bolaji are brilliant artists and my current “art crushes.” I am inspired and admire their use of color and the incredible pieces they create keep them as constants on my inspiration board. However, there are so many more I admire.
What kind of advice would you give to people who are new to collecting art? How can a newbie get started?
Start small and buy quality. It’s amazing what you can find online. I’ve bought quite a few smaller pieces on Chairish and I love them.
Your Mini collection features vibrant abstracts, sometimes with contrasting colors playing off of each other. How do you select the colors you’ll include in each piece?
Sometimes I play with color in my studio (for better or worse) and sometimes I’m inspired by life itself. My mind is constantly spinning with ideas. Instagram is an amazing mood board for inspiration. The best thing about working with paint is that if it doesn’t work — paint over it.
Your art also has a strong textural element, with visible strokes and rivulets of paint visible. How does texture come into play with your art?
Each one of my paintings has several layers of paint, and although some may look effortless, I’m a perfectionist and will labor over one paint stroke for days. When it’s finally done I love how every single piece I create has a feeling of movement.
What are some of the current trends in the art world that you’re most interested in these days? And are there any trends you wish would disappear?
I’m loving the way John O’hara is incorporating skateboards into his new Deck pieces and I’m a little obsessed with Angela Chrusciaki Blehm’s Ribbon pieces. So I would say sculptural wall art is something I’m very interested in at the moment. As far as trends I wish would disappear — I don’t think I really have any. If it’s something I’m not interested in I don’t really give it much thought. Just swipe right by it.
Where do you hope your art will take you next?
I designed for a few companies early in my career as a creative director and I would love to see my art and designs translated onto wallpaper, textiles, and home goods.
On Chairish & Vintage Shopping
What do you find most compelling about Chairish?
In my own house, I have a mix of antique, vintage, Asian, and modern pieces. I can find all of that at Chairish. The curated pieces are incredible.
Are there any dream vintage/antique “gets” you wish you could have? What’s a dream piece for you?
I have a few, but a Biedermeier commode would definitely be near the top of my list right now. I would love one for my studio space.
How do you think vintage/antique pieces contribute to sustainability?
Any time we can keep from filling landfills I’m all for it. So many vintage and antique pieces are able to be mixed into just about any decor. They really do work well with modern, rustic, traditional, mid-century, etc.
What are three of your favorite pieces on Chairish now?
Some Design Favorites…
Favorite way to create a statement-making moment in a room:
I love to put one big piece in each room. In my living room I have a huge iron mobile hanging from the ceiling — 60” tall x 95” wide — and it’s amazing.
Favorite decorating “cheap thrill:”
I have a Leanne Ford light fixture hanging over my dining room table that everyone comments on. It was a steal on sale for $69 and I love it.
Favorite iconic piece of vintage design:
I’m a chair-aholic. I’m obsessed with so many chairs I can’t pick one.
Favorite paint color:
I have two. Black and white. They look amazing together, apart, and they can also be the perfect backdrop for other colors.
Favorite piece of decor in your home:
It changes constantly. At the moment it would be a 1980’s James Mont Ming/Horseshoe chair.
Favorite designer or artist from the past you most often turn to for inspiration:
Franz Kline, Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jackson Pollock, Keith Haring, David Hockney — there are more, but these are some of the main ones.
Favorite style icon:
Currently Robert Stilin. Such a casual coolness to him and his design aesthetic.
Design destination every creative should visit at least once:
I was born in San Francisco. I was and still am obsessed with it. I could walk it for hours and be in heaven.
Best piece of career advice you’ve ever received:
Know who you are and always deliver.
Some Lifestyle Favorites…
Favorite vacation destination (the next time travel becomes an option):
I haven’t been to Paris or Italy. Those two are on my list.
Favorite hotel that’s inspired your work while traveling:
I haven’t been anywhere in so long I feel like I need to circle back to this next year!
Any place that serves incredible sashimi.
Favorite small museum:
Andy Cohen. Always hilarious.
Favorite Instagram accounts to follow:
Favorite hostess (or thank you) gift:
A great bottle of red wine
Favorite adult beverage:
I love to sit down with a glass of red wine. A dark gorgeous red wine. Always.
Favorite way to unwind at home:
I love to go out and work in my yard. Trimming trees and bushes is very meditative for me.
Favorite entertaining essential:
The perfect playlist. It sets the mood the minute guests arrive.
All photos by Ron Giusti and courtesy of the artist