Justin Gibbens (b. 1975)
Justin Gibbens was trained in both scientific illustration and traditional Chinese painting, a skill set he employs in his subversive zoological drawings. His stylized and embellished beasts speak of evolution, mutation and biodiversity, and perhaps serve as cautionary tales and stand-ins for our anthropocentric selves. By lifting the formal conventions of classic natural science illustration, Gibbens imagines strange and provocative depictions of curious creatures and beautiful beasts of a forgotten natural history.
Gibbens received his BA in painting and drawing from Central Washington University in 1998 and a Scientific Illustration Certificate from University of Washington in 2003. He was the recipient of a 2006 Pollock-Krasner Foundation Award and a 2008 Artist Trust Fellowship Award. He is a founding member of PUNCH Projects (formerly PUNCH gallery), an artist collective based in central Washington. His work has been exhibited throughout the Pacific Northwest and nationally. He is represented by G. Gibson Gallery in Seattle, Washington and Elizabeth Leach Gallery in Portland, Oregon. His work has been collected by the Washington Arts Consortium, Grinnell College, Microsoft, 4Culture/King County Portable Works Collection, the City of Seattle, the City of Kent and the Tacoma Art Museum.
Though a native to the Northwest, Gibbens' aesthetic and ecological wanderlust has taken him to far away, otherworldly and sometimes inhospitable places of Antarctica, the Indian subcontinent, the Galapagos Islands and Southern Florida. As a counterpoint to his studio practice, Gibbens has been adapting his practice to include larger-scale public mural projects. He lives in rural Thorp, Washington with his dangerously talented wife Renee Adams.