Justin White got pretty psyched when we told him we'd actually pay him a little bit of money for the right to put on our cover his portrait of a bank-robbing orca and a gray whale cop that's shooting to kill. Sure, he's a 24-year-old artist and aspiring animator who could use any cash that comes his way, but for White, he knew exactly where the money was going.
'Matt is such an incredible guy who does so much and asks for so little; we just want to pay him back however we can,' White says, referring to his friend Matt Kelly, a local musician who was recently run over by a semi truck while riding his bike in City Heights. 'Matt and I both grew up in Pleasanton and have been best of friends ever since middle school. We ended up living together in North Park, and living with Matt is the most fun I have ever had. There are brief moments when I am taken back by the incredible amount of support from friends, family and even strangers, but then I remember who we're talking about.'
White says he'll donate his commission straight to the fund that his friend's family has set up to help pay medical bills. The piece, called 'Stop, or My Whale Will Shoot,' is a play on Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot, a rightfully forgotten 1992 Sylvester Stallone film. It's typical of the whimsy White likes to use in his art (which can be seen at www.jublin.com).
'It is indeed named after the award-winning Sylvester Stallone crime drama action comedy,' he says. 'You know, I really just wanted to draw some whales. It's almost a pun, but not quite. Overall, I just want to draw and create and be able to share that with others. Everything else is a bonus.'
And White hardly breaks character when asked about some of the reactions to his work. He could have easily relayed a story about meeting artist and animator Craig McCracken, his personal hero, and showing him some of his drawings. No, White, just like his art, keeps it humorous.
'I do a bit of design work for T-shirts, and the first shirt I ever had printed and sold was through an online company called Threadless,' White says. 'I ordered a few for my friends as soon as I could, but saw someone wearing the same shirt walking around SDSU. And this was before I received any of mine in the mail. I was so stoked. I ran up to the guy hoping he would share in my excitement. He didn't. It looked like he was nursing a hangover and had just barfed in the Rubio's bathroom.'