Justin Sterling

Artist Bio

Justin is an African-American artist from Texas. He likes to go for long walks on the beach, enjoys playing trumpet, loves to skate, and his favorite food is potatoes.

2017 MFA Fine Art Thesis Walkthrough- Justin Sterling from Parsons Art, Media & Technology on Vimeo.

"Silence is Golden" (2016) gold leaf, gold paint, police battering ram

This object is a police raid battering ram used to break down doors. The choice to repaint it and gold leaf it, was to evacuate all original meaning while keeping the function. The golden object as if not only the law but money is beating down your door. Profit for an overpopulated criminal justice system, debt for you.

"Baseball Grenade" (2016) found baseball, grenade test pin

America's favorite pastime.

"Let It Burn" (2016) SoHo hydrant, Brooklyn hydrant, rope

"These are two reclaimed fire hydrants from Williamsburg, Brooklyn and SoHo, Manhattan. As one of the loneliest spectators in the street, the hydrants have seen heavy gentrification in their time. They didn’t know they would fall in love.

"Stuck" (2016) found window, rebar

There is writhing tension between the window and the burglar bar in society. Architecture is psychological and we are conditioning our children behind bars. While also protecting residents of high crime areas, the bars serve a double function of perpetuating delinquency in neighborhoods. If you are fearful of those around you how will you behave? Which neighborhoods do these appear? What is the socio-economic status of that location?

"Dan" (2016) Oil on glass bus window

Artist Statement

I am a New York-based artist using history and politics to subvert, critique, and transform ideas around the human condition in cities, I explore how everyday objects shape social behavior. Many of my artistic propositions include interventions in public as well as the mediums of painting, drawing, sculpture, video, installation, and performance. My aim is to unravel the way we view power and control by revealing various truths about urban ecosystems through visual poetry. Much of the work has an underlying tone of violence that I use to create symbolic tension inside the status quo. The everyday environment shapes our behavior, architecture is psychological. The public realm deserving our compassion sounds negligible and obvious until we are in need of this kind of truth and reconciliation in our own private lives. After all, one cannot know the true meaning of happiness without also acknowledging to realities of abject suffering. I assert that reason and common sense are the enemies of the passion of compassion. In my process I embrace, provoke, appropriate, and manipulate nature to reveal the ways chance has influence over the senses. The most compelling lies are composed almost entirely of truth.