Justin Gibbens Fears Not The Birds, And Nor Should You.

With a name like Justin Gibbens, one might jokingly argue that Gibbens is pre-disposed to making art about wildlife. Strangely, no monkeys have shown up yet in his work, but his latest series, Birds of Paradise, centers around birds and represents them in a brand new way.

His watercolor and gouache depictions of birds on simple grayscale backgrounds are sure to scare the living daylights out of the hoards of people who are deathly afraid of birds. For individuals with a more reasonable grasp on reality, however, Gibbens’ work might actually be intriguing. They tenderly represent these prehistoric beasts in a nearly life-like way, and then force you to do a double-take as you realize that each bird actually might have three heads, or eight legs… and that the swimming Grebe actually looks more like a dragon or the Lochness Monster than it does a freshwater diving bird! Gibbens’ pieces are a fascinating look into a world of animals that might be mutated by toxicities, bred on foreign landscapes, or present in future times. Whatever the hypothesis, Gibbens has actually managed to make wildlife art exciting, and he’s to be lauded for it.

From now until April 18th, Gibbens’ work is on view at the G. Gibson Gallery in Seattle, showcased alongside four other artists who also have something to share about birds.

www.justingibbens.com

Written by
Vee Hua 華婷婷

Vee Hua 華婷婷 (they/she) is a writer, filmmaker, and organizer with semi-nomadic tendencies. Much of their work unifies their metaphysical interests with their belief that art can positively transform the self and society. They are the Editor-in-Chief of REDEFINE, Interim Managing Editor of South Seattle Emerald, and Co-Chair of the Seattle Arts Commission. They also previously served as the Executive Director of the interdisciplinary community hub, Northwest Film Forum, where they played a key role in making the space more welcoming and accessible for diverse audiences.

In 2017, Vee released the narrative short film, Searching Skies — which touches on Syrian refugee resettlement in the United States — and co-organized The Seventh Art Stand, a national film and civil rights discussion series against Islamophobia. 2022 sees the release of their next short film, Reckless Spirits, which is a metaphysical, multi-lingual POC buddy comedy for a bleak new era, in anticipation of a feature film.

Vee is passionate about cultural space, the environment, and finding ways to covertly and overtly disrupt oppressive structures. They also regularly share observational human stories through their storytelling newsletter, RAMBLIN’ WITH VEE!, and are pursuing a Master’s in Tribal Resource and Environmental Stewardship under the Native American Studies Department at the University of Minnesota.

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