A Session in Painter Justin Lyons’ Studio

“Wake up, open your eyes and heart, throw away your manual and live your life”.

When artist Justin Lyons and I sat down for our painting session these are the words he said to me.  As I looked around his crazy colorful studio we chatted about his process and his inspiration.  I wanted to find out more about how he creates, take a peek at the pieces for his upcoming exhibit “OBJECT-ion” at the Full Circle Gallery, and I wanted to gain more insight about his approach to color. 

The questions:

Why do you create? Justin: “To release stress, work through ideas, figure things out but mostly I use painting as my microphone.”

What is your work about?    

Justin: “I have always wondered why I think certain ways about profiles and stereotypes.  Where I got ideas about the good and bad; how I got programmed?  Where is the programming coming from?  That is what my work is about getting at the programming.  Throwing away the manual, getting people to open the doors in their minds and question the experience.”

What about the imagery and symbolism in your work?                                        Justin: “When you see something attractive you have that initial peripheral experience, and maybe if the object or person is very attractive a little endorphin rush.  The feeling of wanting something.  That is the vibe I try to evoke in people.  I like to draw the viewer in with a childish feel of wanting, with  a safe candy coated look to the work, and once they begin to bite, chew and digest it they see that maybe there’s some meat to it as well.”

Where do you find inspiration?                                                                            Justin: “I find a word or phrase or idea and I pick at it.”                                    As I watched his process this is exactly what he did.  He would draw little doodles and sketches, paint over them, paint around them, then write a phrase to the side.  He also did a lot of sitting, looking and wondering back and forth.  At one point I found him in the yard sanding a ding out of his surfboard.  “Multitasking” he says is his is inspiration and process.

I wanted to know more about his palette.  As you can see from his studio there is color everywhere.   Justin explained that his choice of color is intuitive.  He prefers to use shades and hues of colors over dominating his pieces with primary colors.
When he puts the paint on the canvas he uses colors he knows he is going to like and if he doesn’t like it he just paints over it.  That is what I really enjoyed about this experience and getting to paint with Justin.  His studio is truly a space with no in the lines, no boundaries, no rules and definitely no manual!

P.S Thanks Melissa Salter from My Visual Creation for the amazing pictures!

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