Justin Gibbens’s Paintings Celebrate Wildlife

by Nastia VoynovskayaPosted on

Based in Thorp, Washington, Justin Gibbens describes himself as a nature boy. The various creatures that abound in the Evergreen State as well as his imagination find their way into Gibbens’s paintings, which often combine media such as watercolor, gouache and tea. Gibbens has formal training in both Chinese painting techniques and scientific illustration — two influences that do not seem so disparate when combined in his sparse yet impactful artworks. “It’s probably no surprise that much of my inspiration comes from all things that scamper and poke about in the thickets and undergrowth, inhabit the tide pools and ocean depths and fly through the ether,” said the artist in an email to Hi-Fructose. “Field guides, natural history museums and David Attenborough documentaries are also good.”

Many of Gibbens’s pieces focus on mutations, a surreal element of his work that hits close to home when one considers the myriad of human activities that have altered and depleted the world’s ecosystems. “The health of our natural environments is a profound concern of mine, though I’m not interested in making any overt, didactic statements about it through my work,” explained Gibbens when asked about his politics. “I’m mostly concerned with celebrating nature in all it’s weirdness and wonder and depicting pageantry that abounds.”

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