When Justin attended hist first art workshop by Multitask at Club Lane in Lismore almost 10 years ago, he had no idea the creativity he had within. Today he has more than one creative outlet, and when he isn’t working or out and about fishing with friends, he spends time honing his crafts, and sharing his creativity with the people he loves.
Born in Sydney Justin and his family moved to Casino in the Northern Rivers of New South Wales before he started school. As a youngster Justin was a typical boy living in regional Australia. He was interested in riding his bike, playing sport with mates and helping his Dad work on and fix-up cars.
“I wasn’t really doing art at school. I did some colouring in but didn’t do my own designs,” he said.
In recent years Justin and his family travelled on holidays visiting family and exploring Australia. He recalls enjoying a trip to Bundaberg to visit a great aunt (that included a visit to the rum distillery!) driving the Great Ocean Road, the Nullabor Highway to Perth and several stays at his brother’s place in Canberra where they visited the Australian War Memorial. It is these adventures that he says are some of his favourite memories as a young man. On these trips he bought commemorative stickers to add to his growing collection.
These stickers were Justin’s first foray with art and graphics. He loved the bold colours of the fonts, icons and images as well as the memory associated with each of them. This love of colour is reflected in some of Justin’s more recent acrylic paintings and pencil drawings of comic book characters that include The Phantom and Robin (from Batman). These artworks were created using acrylic paints and canvas.
“The reason I did the Robin one is because my nephew who is 7 is right into Robin. I haven’t given it to him yet, but I will when he visits,” he said.
Justin’s art practise is diverse, and he enjoys learning new techniques from mentors and people he works and connects with. For the Artful Art Prize Justin is submitting a large self-portrait in the mixed medium category. This self-portrait was a labour of love and has been created in workshops run by Multitask in Lismore using a combination of mediums including drawing, copying and collage. The artwork is black and white and bears an uncanny likeness to Justin. Its layers give it depth and shade and as it is based on a photo, it perfectly captures his cheeky personality.
“It took some time. Each time I returned to the club to work on it. It started with a colour photo on a mobile phone, and I learnt how to use the gel transfer technique to create a much larger image that is multiple layers and has been set with lacquer.
His current passion is bonsai, and he spends hours nurturing his plants. He says he learnt the art of bonsai in a local private class and enjoys the silence and pace of bonsai.
“You can’t rush it. You need to have patience, be careful and not rush when looking after the plants and training them,”
“I have about 11 bonsai that I am working on at the moment. I have a crepe myrtle, sandpaper fig, liquid amber, Chinese Elm and many more varieties. I’m currently looking for a Japanese Maple to add to my collection,” he said.
Justin, 47, lives in Casino New South Wales. Among his hobbies are fishing and playing video games. He has worked at Windara Nursery, a social enterprise just outside town for 29 years, and works at the local bus company mowing and washing the buses.
Justin’s untitled self-portrait that he plans to submit for judging in the 2023 Artful Art Prize uses a gel medium transfer technique that requires photography, image manipulation, paper, glue, wood and lacquer.