“Forbidden Fruit,” 2018.


Julius Dizon-Cruz Bautista (b. 1987, Manila, Philippines) is a Chicago based visual artist and USMC veteran specializing in mixed-media portraiture and figure painting. Inspired by mixed media films of the 90’s, such as Cool World and Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Julius produces a gaudy anesthetic informed as much by dreams as it is by reality. Infusing traditional styles of realism with contemporary elements of pop culture and urban art, he crafts an eclectic style designed to stimulate the imagination.

Psychology plays a central role in Bautista’s portraiture, shifting representational emphasis from the physical, tangible world towards the ethereality of the imagination. The hyper-kitsch nature of his portraits aim to elicit an unsettling sense of wonder and awe through tight compositions and frenetic ornamentation.

The narratives depicted in his works are best considered as cerebral states in which polarity is nurtured, irrevocably a product of Bautista’s bipolar diagnosis. By examining identity through the spectrum of duality, absolution ceases to exist, leaving contemplation in its place.

“There is a transience to our perceptions of time that we often disregard in favor of capitalizing on the existing moment. Actions take priority over theory in the rapid pace of data-driven globalization, as we surrender more and more of our autonomy to the invisible mechanisms at play. If we wish to maintain our humanity, we must never forget our origins in mysticism and boundless curiosity.”

“The emotions I depict are easily recognizable and relatable. The fun begins when one realizes the contradiction and irony that results from the inevitable transition of emotional states. It’s difficult to take a sad image too seriously if it’s saturated with vibrant colors and bedazzled with nonsensical embellishment. Positive emotions are no less vulnerable to diffusion by self-deprecation. We’re permanently in constant flux between a wide province of temporal states, and I find that as ludicrous as it is magical.”