“Art, freedom and creativity will change society faster than politics.” – Victor Pinchuk
Known for his bold and daring style to his relocation to Oregon and working side by side with Nike Corp, we were able to catch up with Chicago Native Juwop who is a multi-faceted freelance artist and designer to say the least. His versatile roles place him as a true contemporary, cutting-edge voice in the art world. With such deep consideration of the narrative behind his work, there’s no doubt that Ju’s art will continue to both challenge and intrigue his growing audience. We took a minute to chat with this artist about his past, current and growing projects.
Q: Who is Juwop? Where did that name come from?
A: I’m JuWop! Issa acronym/verb that I came up with: Ju Working On Projects. My friends started calling me Wop because my birthday is on 10/18.
Q: When did you begin to witness you had creative talents?
A: My earliest memories are of me painting at the kitchen table over at the apartment on Yates. Those days we lived on the third floor. When I went to school my shit was always the most intricate and outside the lines.
Q: On your IG, you call yourself Dr. Swoosh. Why?
A: Dr. Swoosh started as a AF1 concept that I came up with when I first started working with Nike. Inspired by Dr. Seuss: One Swoosh, Two Swoosh, Red Swoosh, Blue Swoosh. A little after, I saw “The Defiant Ones” and I was really inspired by Dr. Dre’s story and his transparency. At that point I came up with Dr. Swoosh.
Next thing I knew, people on Nike’s Campus started introducing me as Dr. Swoosh :)
Q: What is your daily routine when working?
A: I wake up at 5:30 am, pray for creative direction smoke and drink some coffee, black …1-4 cups. Then I go into the studio and work.
Q: How do you determine prices for your art?
A: I know my worth. I have been selling art since I was 12 years old. I painted shoes and clothing all through high school to my peers and their parents. In undergrad I would sell my art assignments to my classmates once they were graded.
Q: Let’s talk your project “Trap n Fields.” What is your inspiration behind this concept?
A: Graduating college, moving back to South Shore, Chicago and painting my way out onto Nike’s campus as a freelance fine-artist. That’s where the painted swoosh concept came about- I was trying to find a way to use the G-Fazo as a canvas to tastefully tell and sell my story. The Swoosh is not on top of the leather swoosh because I don’t work AT Nike, I work IN and AROUND Nike. The Swoosh looks rough and chaotic because frankly, it wasn’t easy.
Q: You’re a designer as well. How did you get started in that field?
A: I have a degree in Art & Design and a minor in Physical Education & Coaching. I am an aesthete; it’s just in my DNA. I like to juxtapose art and athletics & make shit look good.
Q: You gave a signature piece of yours to Teyana Taylor right off your back, how did that meeting come about?
A: When I worked at Station-23 and she came by to check the space out. I was working on the concept as a personal piece; it was far from done. She saw it when she walked into the door and said she wanted one just like it. I told her to give me an hour to add some of her personal details to it and then she could have it right off my back.
Q: What advice would you give to a young artist following in your steps?
A: Make good stuff and share it with people. Don’t be selfish with your ideas. A true artist has 10,000 ideas for every one stolen or appropriated. Charge it to the game.
Q: What can your audience expect from you next year?
A: More Projects and a Solo Art Show out here in Portland. I’m finna build a couple box Chevy’s and fly to Paris to paint.