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Meet the Artist: Justin Jones

On Thursday, October 26, 2017, the Governor’s Awards for the Arts in Pennsylvania will be held in Lancaster City. It is a great honor to be chosen to host the awards, and in celebration, the Lancaster arts community has rallied together to put on a week of events. We’ll be highlighting a handful of amazing individuals that make up the Lancaster arts community. Today we’re sharing about local artist, Justin Jones.

What does the word art mean to you and what made you pursue it?
Art is making your surroundings beautiful.  I’ve always had a knack for it, just creative pursuits and lateral thinking.  I went to PCAD (Pennsylvania College of Art & Design) downtown. I miss school.  I loved the atmosphere, but you never stop learning.

How did you get involved with the 2017 Governor’s Awards for the Arts?
Jones will be creating a piece of work live at 551 West on Thursday, October 26.
I was talking to 551, I live a couple blocks away from there, and I just happened to stop in and I was one of the artists that they knew, so they said ‘hey do you want to be the artist for the day?’ I said yeah. I want to do something on board like real large and something they can have for their restaurant.  I’m very nervous about this particular project because I’m going to be working by myself for this one.

Tell me about your work or most current projects.
Primarily focusing on painting.  Recently we created some mural work in my neighborhood.  We invited like 10 or 12 artists to spray paint fences around the neighborhood. We set up scaffolding in my yard and painted the side of my house.  I want to give a shout-out to the RBW Crew for the opportunity to help the community I live in be beautiful with murals.  I’m also working with two other artists painting a mural in a recording studio on King Street, Darren Jordan and Jason Pohlig.

Jones has also become most known for his unique style of portrait creation using the tabs from bread bags.  He was inspired while working at the Dispensing Company when he noticed how many plastic tabs from bread bags were being thrown away.  He started collecting the tabs of various sizes and colors and began transforming them into large scale portraits.  After seeing his unique creations, friends and family also started collecting the bread tabs to add to Jones’ collection.  He now says he has more tabs then he knows what to do with. Creating art with the bread tabs is a time-consuming process.  All the tabs must be sorted by color, categorized into palettes and then sorted again by size before being laid out and attached to the board.

Are you from Lancaster originally, did you grow up here?
Oh, no, I never grew up, no one ever grows up you just get more responsibilities.  But no, I grew up outside of King of Prussia. (School brought him here and) I stayed because I liked the town. People, friends, it’s easily walkable, and you can get anywhere on foot.

What do you love about Lancaster and the Lancaster community?
The social circles are very cool, everybody kind of knows everybody, everybody looks out for each other. Like I know someone who could use this, and I know someone who could use that.  We all have a responsibility to each other I guess to make the city better.

What local organizations or groups are you involved with?
Just my neighborhood. I just adopted my block, or the alleyway behind my house.  I keep it clean, keep the trash out. We held the mural event there to get people to appreciate art and think critically and think laterally.

Do you have any hobbies, art related or otherwise?
Music. I am about to buy some programs for my mac.  The music scene’s good here too.  There’s always an open mic in town.  Other than beat-boxing and singing, I play glockenspiel which is the metal xylophone.  I am learning bass guitar, but I’m not doing it formally.  I know what each string is, or the key, but I don’t know exactly what I’m playing. I just  like what I hear, and I play it.

For more information about the 2017 Governor’s Awards for the Arts in Pennsylvania, go to www.pagovartslanc.com.

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