Today we’d like to introduce you to Justine Hill.
Justine, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
Absolutely. I feel like mine is a story we’ve all heard before. I grew up in southeastern Massachusetts. My mother was an art teacher so arts and crafts were always a part of my life, both making and looking. My interests turned serious in undergrad at Holy Cross, when I realized that being an artist didn’t have to be a fantasy. Being surrounded by so many impressive artists helped me to realize this was something I could actually aspire to make a career of. And it was their encouragement that sent me to grad school and from there to New York City which continues to have a huge impact on my practice.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
To start with, I make paintings. I make paintings on shapes which I cut out of plywood, wrap with canvas and then “paint” with acrylics, pastels, color pencils, markers and crayons. I specify this, first off, because I get asked all the time, but secondly, because the physically of art is extremely important. I spend a tremendous amount of time considering how things I make and things other people make exist in space – their scale, their materials, their weight, etc.
But to talk less things and more ideas, I call myself an abstract painter when asked, but I still think of myself as a landscape painter. I aim to create imagined spaces where creatures, for lack of a better word, exist. Sometimes they function more as portraits but that is because they are only a piece of something larger.
My artwork is not message oriented, it’s not intended to educate in a social or political way, but I do hope they are intriguing and encouraging of imagination and trigger questions about reality. I hope they ask people to question language while trying to find the words to talk about them and even think about them.
I like to believe the work tries very hard not to take itself too seriously, which granted may be an oxymoron, but it’s also one that might sum me up as an artist. I try really hard to not try too hard.
The sterotype of a starving artist scares away many potentially talented artists from pursuing art – any advice or thoughts about how to deal with the financial concerns an aspiring artist might be concerned about?
Choosing to be an artist is always challenging because it usually involves keeping multiple full-time jobs. I am still searching for a healthy balance of “day job” and studio time. If I were to attempt to give practical advice I’d recommend moving somewhere with a very active art scene. Somewhere where artists already live, where there are galleries, non-profit spaces, art schools and museums, so you have other people to celebrate and commiserate with. But even more specifically I’d recommend trying to get jobs with other artists and art spaces. I learned so much my first few years in NYC by working for other artists and then in the last four years working for a gallery. Those experiences were invaluable in beginning to understand the scope of the art world and feeling like I am connected to something worth working for.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
Well I am always open to people visiting my studio in Brooklyn but it’s also great to see work in a more organized space so luckily, I am participating in three group shows this summer, one in NYC at a space called the CORE Club, one in Milwaukee at an artist run space called Usable Space, and one in LA at a gallery called Klowden Mann. I also try to be a regular Instagram poster so that’s definitely the best way to follow what I’m working on at any time, it’s how I follow other artists.
And honestly encouragement is one of the all-time best supports for me. Being an artist is a fabulous privilege but it’s also very critical and isolating so a supportive community goes a long way. And of course, buying art never hurts!
- Website: justinehill.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: jteenhill
Installation view of “Movers and Shapers” by Justine Hill and Ali Silverstein (2018) Image Credit:
Justine Hill & Denny Gallery