I could probably start my own art gallery with my paintings and collages by Justin Wheatley alone. A home grown Utahn (now a husband and father), Justin studied art at my own Alma Mater, Utah State University. Todd and I discovered his work at Palmer’s Gallery (may it rest in peace) and we usually bump into him at the Utah Arts Festival. We have eight small (about 6 inches by 6 inches) wooden panels of photos collaged with paint, musical notes, sketches and book pages as well as one medium piece (about 12 by 12) by Justin Wheatley. But enough about my collection — let’s talk about Justin.
Justin’s artist statement says it all and is so beautifully written I thought I’d just print it word for word:
“I have always been interested in architecture. What intrigues me most is the man-made geometry that has been forced onto nature. It is fascinating to see cities and suburbs of harsh lines and shapes stacked and spread into an organic space.
“We seek shelter in those shapes. What happens inside of them defines and molds us. What happens inside is hidden from the eyes of everyone else. There are layers there. Layers of paint, layers of history. There is the mark on the wall left by a child drawing and a knick in the wall left by a father moving furniture. There are photos hanging in reverence to fond memories and books with those memories described in words.
“I have often thought about my own life and experiences and then looked at a person across the room, trying to wrap my head around the fact that this person too has experienced just as much as I have, but with a completely different set of people and places. And a different place to call home. Different layers.
“My work is about those layers.”
Find him on Facebook under “Justin Wheatley Artist” and we also hope to have some of his pieces at the Artduh.com Anniversary Show in April at the Hive Gallery.