Award Winners / Artist Profile

About the Artist

Justin Gibbens (Thorp) imitates the conventions of 18th and 19th century zoological illustration and traditional Chinese fine-line painting. In his latest series, Birds of Paradise, Justin has transformed John James Audubon-like illustrations into monstrous hybrids, reptilian dragons, and other forms of daemonic life. Justin has recently exhibited at the G. Gibson Gallery and PUNCH Gallery in Seattle, and Elizabeth Leach Gallery in Portland, OR. He received his Bachelor of Arts from Central Washington University in 1998 and participated in a Traditional Chinese Painting Exchange Program at Anhui University in Hefei, China in 2002. Justin Also completed the University of Washington Scientific Illustration certificate program in 2003 and was recently featured in the Summer 2012 issue of American Artist Watercolor.

Justin received a 2007 GAP to support a project entitled Wonderland, in which the artist hiked along the 93-mile path known as the Wonderland Trail, which loops around Mt. Rainier, and traversed high alpine meadows, deep river canyons, rugged lava slopes and groves of old growth forest.  Employing his background in scientific illustration, Gibbens created on-site sketches of the life forms encountered along the trail. The artist painted each piece with pigments made from the natural materials on hand: mud, plant material, pollen, animal scat, or insect guts. The completed series of drawings was shown in a traveling exhibit beginning with Gallery One, Ellensburg, in the fall of 2007.

As part of his Fellowship’s Meet the Artist requirements, Justin’s Operation Bigfoot explored the intersection of contemporary art and cryptozoology. Both contemporary wildlife artists, Justin and Eugene Parnell, former grant recipient, conducted a survey of the public, both online and in person, about their personal experiences with the cryptozoological phenomenon known as Bigfoot or Sasquatch. The artists were on-site at Seattle’s Westlake Park on July 11, 2009 as a part of ARTSPARKS, to act as real-time forensic sketch artists, giving visual form to the eyewitness descriptions of Bigfoot provided by interviewees. Finished sketches from the project are available at www.eugeneparnell.com/bigfoot.

Justin also serves as an Artist Trust Ambassador.

Information included above was provided by artist at the time of application.