©2019 by Justin Sterling

ARTIST STATEMENT

My chosen medium is the city, I appropriate cities to create a poetic storytelling relationship with the urban and domestic, which in turn becomes a catalyst for social, political, and environmental discourse and activism. This work is about the fundamentals and the variations of what an object and action have the capacity to say and I explore how these objects shape our social behavior through history and politics. My aim is to unravel the way we view the world around us by revealing various truths about urban ecosystems, domestic interims, collective memory, and bad-faith legislation. I am an activist and I have developed a methodology of semiotic disobedience through painting, drawing, sculpture, video, installation, and performance.  I use reclaimed objects that reference both the domestic and the urban, and the relationship between the two. Much of the work has an underlying tone of violence that I use to create tension inside of the status quo through the use of poetics, semiotics, and linguistics. In my process, I embrace, provoke, and appropriate to explore the ways civil disobedience, violence, and economics have a stake in what it means to be a citizen. The breaking of a window can be an event of stark violence or the beginning of a healing process. I personally throw rocks at each and every window I collect, mend the shatter, and fill them with the vernacular language of windows, quick-fixes, and construction sites.

 

I am also a musician, I meld the sound of my trumpet with performance art where I improvise the trumpet, improvising my body. This series of actions and reactions become a dance with the horn, where noise and jazz exist simultaneously. This is a way for me to channel my ancestors and activate my own installation during an exhibition, there have been many great black trumpeters in the past. 

 

In an exhibition, I want to introduce my own architectural forms, existing as simultaneously architectural, sculptural, and even functional. I literally want to build a house for my windows, so that they can be peered through and seed in the round instead of on the wall as a painting. My goal is for the objects to replicate an environment that is a reflection of the city they are from that I then perform inside of. An exhibition of this work would present an interdependence of forms, an environment where no element exists without the support of the others.