If you loved making cut-and-paste collages in elementary school, you'll love JUJU, one of Bend's most promising new tech startups. JUJU is an art-based messaging app that provides a library of licensed art pieces for users to combine and design into unique hodgepodges.
When the Source spoke with Julia Junkin, one of the founders of JUJU, she was at a tech conference in Sweden, sharing the app that she hopes will encourage creativity with the wide tech world.
"I teach creative workshop and one of the biggest things I hear is, 'I'm not creative,'" said Junkin. "One of the things we talked about when making JUJU was if we could create an app that involved art where you could have success creating visual messaging." The idea is pretty basic. And even if you can't draw beautifully haunting post-modern pieces like Alex Reisfar or goofy figures like Benjamin Kinzer, those artists' elements are there for you to design.
"We all love texting," said Junkin, "but there are some things where words don't get the whole point across."
Users can download the app via the iTunes store and purchase art expansion packs for 99 cents, a portion of which goes to the artists. It's easy to get into a JUJU-loop, scrolling through dozens of artists, recognizing some of the local works, and plastering them together into fun, funny and ridiculous combinations.
"You can find out about all these artists around the world and intimately use their art to create your art," explained Junkin. "Every artist I know has stacks of art in their studio and it's sitting there doing nothing and this is an opportunity for people to see their work.
"It's about expression and sharing."