Inspirations. They often come from the mundane and unexpected, introspective and inquisitive moments in my life. I try not to discriminate amongst the tools I use, least of all – exploration. Relationships, social context, emotion, and behavior illustrate society, create dialog and facilitate a trajectory into the unknown. Post-traumatic stress, social anxiety, depression, and daily battles with the 21st century are the vessels that bring my muse. Often I find my influence comes from the “in-between” moments; periods of reflection, random synaptic firings, memories of moments long ago; they’re all part of the kaleidoscope I work within. Unpredictable everyday life, a documented process of often overwhelming emotion and the desire to communicate. Emotions, like floods, ripping through the days, through color and shape. Communication on an instinctual level, bridging isolation to community, joining something greater than oneself. To make a real connection.
Artist’s Statement, process prose
Search party for one; fluid into the night, flexibly concise communication. “Ha! Not here.” Stringing broken sentences into crafty idioms and lofty assertions. The ghost sentences and dead-end or two, birth a new essay. Now, as I re-read my fragmented odyssey, I stop just before I push delete. “Wait!” Soak in the moment. Now freeze frame, a snapshot, a ‘fly on the wall’ realization of myself. Closer inspection is due.
I am pink like a Greek letter drunk romantic; optimistic, but not so green that I might end up blue. I often throw caution to the wind and then plunge head-first into my heart’s own end. Clumsily modest, an introspective pessimist crushing on Optimism’s best friend. A string of words, a line in a bar. A kaleidoscope of emotion translated through color and pattern. Time becomes texture and connection takes shape. Before memory melts, vibration as picture book; in burnt dark edges, I find a muse. And then simulate, where words couldn’t communicate.
Justin John was born on the U.S. Naval Base Subic Bay in the Philippines in 1981. He grew up on the East Coast in Virginia and Maryland. His artistic talents lead him to study graphic design at the Maryland Institute, College of Art in Baltimore, MD. He received his BFA the spring of 2003; shortly thereafter he relocated to Washington, D.C.
His career as a freelance graphic and web designer was just starting. Soon his clients included B.E.T., The Peace Corps, and McGraw-Hill Publishing. In his spare time enjoyed getting involved with D.C.’s vibrant music scene by working with a few production companies. He also held creative and management roles in the retail industry with Urban Outfitters, Pottery Barn, and FLOR (Interface) to name a few.
In 2014, Justin moved cross-country to Boise, ID to be closer to his family. He now lives and creates his art from his studio apartment in Boise’s historic Idanha Hotel.
Maryland Institute, College of Art
BFA – Major in Graphic Design, Digital Media Arts Concentration
Studied under: Ellen Lupton
Graphic Design Department Recognition Award (2002)
Seymour Mandelbaum Merit Award (2000)
Dean’s List (2000, 2001, 2002, 2003)
2019 — Art Auction 51 Group exhibition, Yellowstone Art Museum, Billings, MT
2018 — Conceptions Art Show Group exhibition, Iron Triangle, DTLA
2018 — RAW: CONNECT Group exhibition, Revolution Concert House & Event Center, Garden City, ID
2018 — SIMULACRUM Solo exhibition, UPCYCLE Studio, Boise, ID
2011 — Exposed: The Polaroid Retrospective II Lamont Bishop Gallery, Washington, DC
Yellowstone Art Auction 51 Catalog, official YAA51 exhibition catalog, Billings, MT, January 2019. 17, 41.
Nelson, Lex: “Justin W. John: Simulacrum” Boise Weekly, Arts & Culture section. May 23, 2018
Yellowstone Art Museum, Billings, MT
2018 — Boise State Public Radio, Art in the Park
2018 — Boise Art Museum, Art in the Park, Annual Gala
2017 — Boise Art Museum, Art in the Park, Annual Gala