Getting Raw with Justin Canja of PaperMonkeyArtStudio

Updated: Sep 29, 2021


Justin Canja of PaperMonkeyArtStudio made his debut appearance on June 4, 2021, at MOD Gallery & Space in Kansas City, Missouri. Justin was one of the Art in the Street Artists, but his cubby hole of Artwork was displayed using every millimeter of space that Brian Ousley, Owner of MOD, let him use. Canja made it work!

Justin Canja of PaperMonkeyArt Studio sitting in front of some of his paintings. (Photo by Kat Day)


Joseph Walton and Justin Canja were first-timers at the MOD.” MOD Gallery Owner Brian Ousley Stated. “Paper Monkey or Justin will be back for July’s First Friday,” Justin had a great showing at MOD, his work was received very well, and he had a great time.”

Customers at MOD Gallery & Space taking a look at Justin Canja's art (on left). Canja was painting live work and every painting he worked on sold. (Photo by Kat Day)


Canja learned about MOD Gallery & Space trough social networking with Mallory Art Gallory on Instagram. It is fantastic that artists can network and share information with other artists in the Kansas City area. Justin is a 36-year-old artist who once studied to be an Art Therapist at Montgomery College in Rockville, Maryland, in 2004. Canja finally decided school was not for him.


“I was always good at taking tests participating in class and exams but never did homework. I always just looked forward to the various art classes I took,” Artist Justin Canja states.” From there, I had my eyes set on Marymount University, but I decided school was not for me. I had a professor give me an F minus, minus once in an English 102 class. I told him he was full of shit because I wrote how he wrote when he went to John Hopkins University and then dropped the course.”


Canja was a visual merchandise manager and window dresser for a little over a decade, then he transferred over to Lockheed Martin Headquarters in Bethesda, Maryland, managing events. Since Canja has been in Kansas City, he has been working as an interior design consultant.

Canja was able to fit all of the art into a small area which reflects on his Interior Design skills. Canja even rigged up a wire to hang his work from as you can see in the photo. Canja with more customers. ( Photo by Kat Day) Joseph Walton Photography and Justin Canja were first timers at the MOD.” MOD Gallery Owner, Brian Ousley Stated. “Paper Monkey or Justin will be back for July’s First Friday,” Justin had a great showing at MOD, his work was received very well and he had a great time.”

MOD's Mannequin Memoir III mannequin by Richard Day on left and Work of Justin Canja of PaperMonkeyArtStudio on right with customer. (Photo by Kat Day)


Canja had a great show at MOD Gallery & Space at June’s First Friday’s ‘Mannequin Memoir III’ event. Every painting that Canja worked on doing his live performance art or live images sold. Canja will return to MOD in July for the First Friday event with featured artist Phil Dunn.

Photo of Artist Phil Dunn, featured artist at July's First Friday event. Justin Canja will be one to MOD's Art in the Street artists showing with Dunn. (Photo by Kat Day)

“It feels free for the first time in a long time to express me and be appreciated and understood.” Artist Justin Canja of PaperMonkeyArtStudio stated. “People need art because art is culture, and culture makes people understand each other.”

People do need art, the streets in front of MOD Gallery & Space were packed with people going around from gallery to gallery. This photo was taken in front of MOD Gallery & Space in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Kat Day)


Canja originally began painting in the DC area and has been painting seriously for the last six years.


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