Design Links: Justin “Coro” Kaufman, Bruno Noxizmad Gore & Wesley Burt

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Editor’s Note: This is part 27 in Emily Potts’ inspirational series, Design Links. Every other week she features three artists whose work offers fresh, fun, and stimulating creative inspiration. Each artist picks the next link—someone who personally inspires him/her. Check out the twenty-sixth part in the series, featuring Danny Larsen, Peter John Devilliers & Shawn Barber.

Shawn Barber is inspired by …

Justin “Coro” Kaufmann

He inspires me because of his work ethic, his motivation, and his willingness to push forward and pursue an exceptionally broad range of mediums, with a sincere focus on figuring out how do it to the best of his abilities, and then surpass the professional standard and bring something new to the medium each and every time. If you don’t know Coro’s work, whether you know it or not, I guarantee his fingerprint has touched something you’ve seen.

I appreciate any artist that has the tenacity and curiosity to step outside their comfort zone and tackle something that you wouldn’t necessarily expect them to create. To then reinvent themselves and make something that has their voice in it, with a new vision, abandoning what the layman might see as a stylistic handicap and truly make something memorable. Coro is the epitome of an artist and true craftsman, without boundaries or gimmicks.

justin landscape

Coro and his family moved to the Pacific Northwest a couple of years ago to raise their family and escape the chaos of living in downtown/Union Square in San Francisco. He has always made pictures in reflection to his immediate surroundings. In his most recent endeavors, he has been painting the trees and landscape around his home—a clear departure from his San Francisco cityscapes and perspective on living in that urban landscape. The intensity and focus of the work isn’t surprising to me, but the leap into a subject that is so different from what he’s painted the last ten years is really inspiring to see. You can see his enthusiasm, the pursuit to venture into new territory, the will to keep pushing, layer upon layer, until it’s time to move on to the next picture.


A few years ago, Coro had an idea to make an epic graphic novel, Transient, about a homeless man in San Francisco that saves the universe. It’s beyond epic. What I love about the whole thing is it’s Coro through and through. His hopeful, yet satirical point of view and desire to spend a couple of years of his life to make this thing that may have never been exposed to the public. He hadn’t drawn comics before or anything in regards to the graphic novel medium. He figured it out, labored over it, and made it happen.

Justin Coro Kaufman is inspired by …

Bruno Noxizmad Gore

I began working with Nox in 2004. In 12 years, the guy still continues to astound me with new ideas and approaches and just an impeccable eye for structure and detail. He paints almost everything from his head using little to no reference, but he renders them so convincingly, I still have trouble understanding how he does it. It’s this complemented by keen narrative skills and a slightly twisted sense of humor that make Nox a one of a kind, and easily one of the best artists I’ve personally ever met.


When he painted this image, he couldn’t get the pose quite how he wanted it, so he sat there for 30 HOURS STRAIGHT until he had a pose he liked. The rest of the image came together fairly quickly, as I remember.


I had such a hard time believing he wasn’t using 3D or photographic elements when I first saw this painting. There’s a sculptural quality to his painting that lends itself very well to pre-visualization for CG.


His characters always have so much life to them. There’s a level of dedication to his work that I deeply admire and aspire to.

Bruno Noxizmad Gore is inspired by ….

Wesley Burt

I have a huge respect for Wesley. Other than just being a great guy and a great friend, he’s one of these genuine artists who wouldn’t rely on recipes and tricks to get the work done, but rather on pure draftsmanship, creativity and shrewdness, to flawlessly deliver the freshest. This guy is smart and he knows how to keep himself interested and entertained.


Even way back when I met him, Wes always carried around the sweetest sketchbooks. He keeps filling them with finely rendered pencil sketches or confident and nervous line works of multiple figures, scenes, abstract compositions of faces and features, life observations or insane characters he makes up.


Working alongside the guy, I was already enjoying his drawings and digital works, but I wasn’t familiar with his traditional paintings. This one he performed live as a demo during the opening weekend of a group show in San Francisco. I was out of town for the show, but was fortunate enough to see the finished painting afterward at our studio, and I was blown away to see how he handled the color and value treatment, even bringing this glitchy features thing he was already playing with in his sketchbook.


Obviously, his digital works inherit these qualities, and sky’s the limit as the nature of the media itself can only enhance the combination. There he can produce images of such cinematic qualities without a photo involved, just skills.

Tune in next time to see who inspires Wesley Burt.

how-summer-thumbThe summer issue of HOW—featuring cover art by Timothy Goodman, a great feature on 3D printing, and 30 creativity exercises to fuel your imagination—dives deep into the ideas, inspirations and innovations behind modern-day creativity. Join us as we discover the Who’s, What’s, Where’s and How’s of creativity. Plus get ready for Summer with tons of creative portfolio ideas and exercises. Dig in here.