Justin Mosley of Kaotic Artworks has taken epoxy art to another level with his unique color separation and patterns that have captivated audiences across social media. KAOTIC has even become its own description for high-detail resin art.
Mosley was always meant to work outside the box. A fifth generation woodworker, he grew up being encouraged to ‘try and see’ with any of the ideas he came up with. His grandfather handcrafted musical instruments, mostly mandolins and fiddles, and he witnessed the craftsmanship that went into every piece.
Above: Justin Mosley poses in front of his sticker wall in his shop
“I was always surrounded by musicians, artists, and woodworkers. I didn’t even know what a ‘regular’ job was until I was already on this path.”
While his family had always used epoxy in woodworking, Mosley was particularly fascinated by the effects different pigments could have on epoxy. He spent time researching it in books and found his own techniques while doing art and epoxy.
“Epoxy is a medium with endless possibilities, the dimensionality of the projects has always appealed to me.”
While it started out as a hobby, he took it very seriously from the start. “There wasn’t a lot of ground breaking going on, but there was room to break ground.”
The biggest factor in his style? Mosley actually creates his own pigments! While he uses the raw powder that’s utilized in oil-based dyes, he also incorporates natural elements like slate from his own backyard. The weight of it helps to separate the colors, while adding a unique sparkle and shine. After years of experimenting, he’s fine-tuned his skills to go by feel, as the viscosity of both the resin and pigment can create different effects.
“Everyone says I do things the hard way, but I say it’s with pride. And okay, a dash of ego.”
Mosley’s color separation and detailed patterns come down to years of practice – and failures. Through trial and error, he discovered the different effects the temperature of the molds, room, and resin can have on a pour. After having his wife try to duplicate a pattern, he even learned that the height of a pour can drastically alter the end result.
“Failure is the best teacher. Fail often, fail fast. If it fails, you learn something every time. It took a while to figure out my own style.”
Almost from the beginning, Mosley has only trusted TotalBoat epoxy products to achieve the effects on his blocks. He started with our High Performance Epoxy, and immediately felt safe using it over his previous brands due to the low VOCs. He also appreciates the Safety Data Sheets on every product page and the company’s full transparency on safety.
While he’s beginning to use TotalBoat ThickSet Fathom epoxy for larger projects, his other go-to is TotalBoat Halcyon varnish.
“I encourage all my customers to use it to protect the epoxy from UV rays and yellowing. Not to mention how quickly and easily it can be recoated!”
He is often on the phone with the TotalBoat Support Team talking over his next project, figuring out how it can be done even if they’ve never heard of it before.
“TotalBoat was so early in supporting me, which gave me a boost of confidence right when I needed it. Their dedication to the artform is impressive, they’re always looking toward the future, not just at the current fad.”
While Mosley’s unique resin blocks will always be part of his repertoire, he’s looking forward to larger projects, and recently completed a coffee table made with ThickSet Fathom epoxy. He and his daughter have started to make silicone molds they can use to create toys. Mosley also plans on continuing to work on guitar builds, as well as knife handles.
He’s working hard to figure out pairing fiber optic lights with resin, as the LEDs most use aren’t as ambient. He wants to create a form that can be controlled without a mold, and play with getting his infamous patterns to pop over a distance of feet instead of just inches.
“This doesn’t feel like a business, it’s a full-on passion. I just feel pure joy and excitement all the time while working now – I just want to keep pushing the medium.”