Projects Archive — Page 2 of 3 — Justin W John

Response Series

Canned Response, Feminine Tone

Acrylic and ink on stretched canvas;
archival matte varnish.
18 x 24 x 1.5 inches


I’ve always loved patterns, a grid, a tight system of orderly sequenced colors or objects. A rhyme and reason, everything in its place, just so.

My mother once told me about when I was a kid and how I would play with my matchbox cars. I would line them all up (in whatever order my imagination had made up) precisely and hated if they were to get out of the order I had so meticulously created. 

That mentality stuck with me for most of my life. Today I have moments of OCD and have to have something in a particular way. Though you probably wouldn’t be able to tell from my messy studio. 

Glitch, I think most are familiar with this term in relation to computers and transmitting data. I’ve been somewhat fascinated with glitch for as long as I can remember. For me it’s almost nostalgic, for some maybe it’s just like, “There’s a glitch in system!” Reminiscent of dialogue in some sci-fi-post-apocolypto-techno-hack-the-future-type movie.

I began to examine what it is about it that speaks to me. Sure, I can easily point out the interesting visual forms and arrangements or colors. But more so, I see the humanity in the machine, it’s imperfection, it’s failure.

Somehow then I feel safe. Systems break down, technology breaks down, people break down. Nothing is forever. 

Glitch Art
Canned Response, 
Masculine Tone

Acrylic and ink on stretched canvas;
archival matte varnish.
18 x 24 x 1.5 inches

Self-Portraits + Nudes



  1. Rivers (BDD) 2017
    Acrylic, ink and spray paint on stretched canvas; archival matte and gloss varnish.
    24 x 48 x 0.6 inches
  2. Superheroes (I’m not what I used to be) 2018
    Acrylic and ink on stretched canvas;
    archival gloss and matte varnish.
    10 x 20 x 0.6 inches
  3. Superheroes II 2018
    Acrylic and ink on canvas board;
    archival gloss varnish.
    5 x 7 x 0.2 inches
  4. #selfie #squint 2018
    Acrylic and ink on stretched canvas;
    archival gloss varnish.
    5 x 7 x 1.5 inches
  5. Show Me Your Teeth 2018
    Acrylic and ink on canvas board;
    archival gloss varnish.
    4 x 6 x 0.2 inches



  1. Summer Vacation 2017
    Acrylic on stretched canvas; gloss varnish.
    36 x 48 x 1 inches
  2. untitled, Figure Study 2017
    Acrylic on chipboard;
    archival matte and gloss varnish.
    24 x 36 x 0.2 inches
  3. Body Electric 02 (Crop) 2017
    Acrylic, pencil and ink on unstretched canvas
    14 x 18 inches
  4. Body Electric 03 (Lime Green) 2017
    Acrylic, pencil and ink on unstretched canvas
    14 x 17.5 inches
  5. Cold as Fire (detail) 2017
    Acrylic and ink on stretched canvas; archival gloss varnish.
    18 x 36 x 0.6 inches
  6. Carbon Man, 18.5% 2017
    Acrylic and ink on stretched canvas; archival gloss varnish.
    16 x 20 x 0.6 inches

Skulls + Sketches




  1. SKULL 2018
    Acrylic and ink on canvas board;
    archival gloss and matte varnish.
    4 x 6 x 0.2 inches
  2. Skull Study (the space between) 2018
    Mixed Media: Acrylic, ink, spray paint, vellum, mylar and tea leaves on stretched canvas; archival gloss and varnish.
    12 x 12 x 1.5 inches



  1. Benji 2019
    Pen and pencil on paper
  2. Andrew 2018
    Pencil on paper
  3. Medic! (My Brain Hurts) 2019
    Pencil, ink, and conté crayon on paper
  4. The Fighter 2017
    Charcoal and ink on unstretched canvas
  5. Self-Portrait 2016
    Pencil on parchment

The Phobia Abstracts

The Phobia Abstract


Acrylic, ink, and charcoal on stretched canvas; 
archival satin varnish.
24 x 36 x 1.5 inches


This collection is an ongoing series I revisit periodically. Inspired by my own irrational fears, the landmine-like triggers associated with PTSD, and the onslaught of anxiety.

Living in any state of fear takes major tolls on those inflicted, as well as those around them. Often times these fears can render a person paralyzed and unable to ask for help. Communication breaks-down, lost in a sea of no tomorrow. There are no words. 

These pieces represent some of those dark places. Through hopelessness I seek to understand the pain and push through. Lift the mental burdens that challenge positive growth, knowing they are there and most likely always will be. 

Gelotophobia (I can see tomorrow from here)

Acrylic  and ink on canvas board; gloss varnish
12 x 16 x 0.2 inches 


Acrylic, spray paint, and ink on found wood;
archival gloss varnish.
16 x 20 x 0.5 inches

Eosophobia (when tomorrow doesn’t come soon enough)

Acrylic, spray paint, latex and plastic on stretched canvas; 
archival gloss varnish.
16 x 20 x 0.6 inches

Two Can Play At This



Two Can Play At This

Acrylic, gouache, charcoal and ink on stretched canvas; archival matte varnish.
36 x 36 x 1.5 inches


Absent Minded

Acrylic, gouache, and ink on stretched canvas; archival matte varnish
24 x 24 x 1.5 inches


This past spring I had the opportunity to attend the Carolina Indian Circle Powwow (CIC Powwow). I feel lucky to have been able to experience this cultural affair that hosted dancers from all along the East Coast.

One of the dances that was performed, The Red Dress Special, moved me very much. I learned it was about the issue of missing or murdered indigenous women, most of which whose crimes have gone unsolved.

When painting this piece, I kept in my mind my own experience with such traumatizing issues and a small prayer for those who have been lost. 

To learn more about this issue and the artist, Jaime Black, who has taken this social issue on in in her work, visit: The REDress Project.


17th Annual Juried Art Show
July 1 — 27, 2019
Art Source Gallery
1015 Main Street
Boise, ID 83702

Justin W John
Edited with Adobe Premiere Pro

32nd Annual Carolina Indian Circle Powwow
Fetzer Gym A
UNC Chapel Hill, North Carolina
March 2, 2019

SRFP 19-181: Boise Traffic Box Program


"300 Gallons"

Since 2010, Boise City and Capital City Development Corporation have provided funding to commission Idaho artists to design vinyl wraps to be incorporated onto the Ada County Highway District traffic control boxes in Boise. Currently, 192 boxes are wrapped across the city. These boxes feature a broad array of styles and artistic mediums. When choosing the locations of these wraps, priority is given to high visibility intersections, proximity with schools, libraries, and other public facilities. Approximately 27 boxes have been identified within the downtown area and outlying neighborhoods for 2019.

196 Artists (or artist teams) applied, 31 of which were chosen. I was lucky enough to be one of them.

The selection panel consisted of members who served to represent the Arts & History Commission, Arts & History Advisory Team, Capitol City Development Corporation, and the local arts community. The members convened to review each application and make recommendations on which artists to select for the 2019 commission.

Thank You to the City of Boise, Arts & History Dept. I am both honored and thrilled to be a part of the city’s collection of Artist Traffic Boxes. Also, a big Thank You to friends and family for encouraging me along the way.

43°37'12.3"N 116°13'54.5"W

Location: Garden & Main, SE Corner



Already on the moon from the news of the opportunity to create one of Boise’s Traffic Boxes, I came back down to the earth when I was given the coordinates of where my art would come to live. An interesting location, where Main Street ends and Garden City begins, and only footsteps away from the Boise River. I knew immediately that I wanted to reference the river, but I didn’t want to neglect the other surrounding elements.

With a little more research, thought, and some math (not my best skill); I found out that the approximate volume of the box is 300 fluid gallons. This also just happens to be the approximate amount of water the average American family uses on a daily basis. 

The 300 gallon approximation only refers to household consumption, as in washing dishes/laundry, taking baths/showers, flushing toilets, etc.

300 gallons, 1 box… In my work, I’ve introduced this series of paintings of various buckets, pop art in style. A suggestion from the panel was to continue this in this project. Water, fish, crabs, boats, Ding! 1 box equals 1 bucket. This was my opportunity to create a larger than life bucket! Huge!

Everyday Boise is growing bigger and brighter, our city is becoming quite the metropolis. With growth and expansion there is always a need to consider the future effects of our decisions today. We can’t let Boise get lost in the shuffle of progress. With these concerns on my mind, I try to take personal inventory and consider how much I consume and, in turn, waste. It shocks me a times. I know I need to be more mindful and try to leave a softer footprint.

As I envision this Traffic Box, a large bucket sitting river adjacent, watching the traffic on Main Street, I see a physical representation of what I ordinarily take for granted. I take pause and begin to appreciate these resources. When a passerby decides to take a moment and ponder the scale of how much water we use, I hope it may spark that recognition in them. 

Our responsibility with our water and maintaining it’s quality is essential to our thriving in the future. I hope to inspire people to adopt more mindful habits when it comes to our relationship with water.

Manhattan Beach Pier

Manhattan Beach Pier

The Manhattan Beach Pier is located just south of Los Angeles, CA. Close to LAX, but seemingly a lifetime away. This beach, along with many others along the Pacific Coast Highway, are where the heart and soul of Southern California live. It’s no wonder why so many songs and movies have used them as their muse.

Growing up as a boy on the opposite side of the country, a son of two crazy Southern California kids, I soaked up the feelings through stories and spending summer vacations at Grandma & Grandpa’s house in Orange County.

Manhattan Beach Pier​, 2018
Acrylic on stretched canvas
48 x 60 x 1.5 inches

2220060 - Manhattan Beach Pier

Manhattan Beach Pier II​, 2019
Acrylic on stretched canvas
24 x 36 x 1.5 inches


I recently made a trek back to L.A. and had the opportunity to visit Manhattan Beach and spend a long afternoon with my toes in the sand and surf. I felt centered again. Afterward, I remembered why I hate real rush hour traffic. In Boise, people get up in arms if you have to wait 15 minutes in traffic. After melting in my car for a bit, I finally broke free from traffic. 

The following day I was able to drive up and down the Pacific Coast Highway, to Malibu and Santa Monica. Even though I didn’t grow up in Southern California, I can’t help but feel a connection, assumingly passed down the generations. A piece of me will always think of it as home.


a representation of someone or something.


…The simulacrum is never that which conceals the truth—it is the truth which conceals that there is none. The simulacrum is true.


Stage 2; 4. Images, copied, reinterpreted. Memories like masks, signs and symbols illustrate an obscure vision of reality. Representation is artificial, superficial, and posed in perversion. Arbitrary need forged from electric algorithms. Possibly maybe, but no longer real. Head-first into hyperreality. Reality no longer exists to you, it’s an obsolete concept. With perception and pretense; we render our shared existence, our relevance, as this experience.


I‘m a visual learner, big surprise, so for me to understand how something relates to another, having those visual aides really help me out. Especially when it comes to art. I remember when I used to work at a framing shop while I was in college, we sold prints mostly, then framed them to order. Well, just about every time I had to frame a Mark Rothko I’d always think to myself, “I don’t get it, a kid could do that.” I didn’t know any better. I had never been in the same room as an actual Rothko. The day I was finally in the pressence of a Rothko, I finally understood what that print couldn’t convey. The sheer majesty and awe of overwhelming fields of emotion, the color, the depth. It crept into my soul. Having a print of a Rothko is like having your vacation photo from paradise posted on your fridge. It’s a memory of a feeling. We satiate our desires with these replicas. I mean, we all can’t live in paradise everyday or else it wouldn’t be paradise any longer. And it’s certainly not like just anyone can afford, let alone have enough room, to own their very own Mark Rothko for their own private collection.

This day & age, with shopping online and doing just about most activities through our mobile devices or computers, all we do is see flat screens and our brain fills in the gaps. I’ve ordered enough things through the internet, only to end up saying, “This ain’t what I bought!?” So I understand the importance of “Real Life” and that nothing will replace the physical experience of being up close and personal with a work of art. With all of that in mind, these photos attempt to illustrate the physical form in terms of scale, as well as interior lifestyle environments rather than neutral museum vacuums.
Paintings & Photography by Justin W John

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