Artist & Instructor
January 16, 2017
Greg Justus Modern Impressionism
Tell us more about some of your past projects?
Creating and selling your own art to pay bills and feed your children is a project in itself, as my fellow artists know! Along the road however, I’ve had some great opportunities to be involved in some fun and fantastic projects. Once, I got to paint an entire piano in just 2 ½ hours in Findlay as part of a public art project. After I quickly rocked out the piano in some fun colors and images, it was left outside in a public space so anyone who might be passing by could stop by and play it. Also, I donated my time to illustrate (3) children’s books for Cancer Connection of Northwest Ohio, to help kids understand what cancer is. Additionally, I’ve painted a rain barrel for the Cuyahoga Soil & Water Conservation District (which was displayed throughout the Cleveland area then auctioned off as a fundraiser), and I’ve done a lot of live painting at fundraising events. All fun and challenging opportunities!
What current projects are you working on?
Besides constantly playing with paint to create my own new work, my home painting party business has really been growing, which keeps me pretty busy! At the painting parties, I’m always trying to find ways for people to have fun together, taking a mental break from the rigors of life for a little adult art therapy. I also really try my best to give back to our community. I teach a few painting classes each month at some of the local nursing homes, which I love, because you just never know what those seniors are going to say and they have some great life stories to share. I also donate my artistic talents to a few organizations but primarily with Cancer Connection of Northwest Ohio. Cancer Connection offers free programs and services to people dealing with cancer issues. I just started a pediatric mobile art program with them in which I go to the hospitals to do art classes with kids who are going through cancer treatments. It’s been a great program which I’m SUPER geeked about!
What advantages does being in Northwest Ohio/Toledo offer your efforts?
Like many before me have mentioned, it is very affordable to live in this area, which is great when you are trying to feed a family and buy art supplies. Having so many fantastic metro parks and an award winning art museum are just a few added bonuses.
Tell us about one of your greatest successes.
Without a doubt, burning my tie and quitting my day job over 3-years ago to pursue my art career full time, and being successful at it, is my greatest success. I owe it all to my wife, who came up with the plan and inspiration to make it happen. She’s much smarter than her husband.
Tell us who or what gives you inspiration?
There is so much inspiration all around us you just never know what is going to speak to you! It may be how the sun sets that day, a work of art you saw, someone you heard speak or even a creative need that you think you can help with – it’s all inspirational. Truly, as a Christian however, I strive to honor Christ with what creative talents He has blessed and inspired me with.
Tell us about your background.
I’m from the Cleveland area originally, received my BFA from Kent State University and eventually ended up in Toledo as a single parent with two little ones in 1998. I eventually suckered my wife into marrying a guy with two little kids and no money. I got a job doing sales at a small advertising agency when I first arrived in Toledo and for the next 15-years did sales and marketing in the advertising, radio and the medical fields while always pursuing my true passion of painting.
Do you have a motto or favorite quote you try to live by?
“Do or do not, there is no try.” - Yoda
Favorite place for local culture?
The Toledo Museum of Art of course. I love spending quality time with my favorite artworks and artists!
Toledo’s “best kept secret” is . . .
The secret underground tunnels in Downtown Toledo that lead down to Mordor which, by the way, is warm all year round.
My favorite place to chill locally is . . .
My painting studio is my favorite place to chill, but I really love chilling with my family at the “Justus Mansion”.
My favorite natural space in the Toledo area is . . .
The many metroparks, without a doubt!
When I’m not working hard, I can always be found at . . .
With my family doing family fun stuff! Movies, games and messing around, we are always having fun.
If you could change anything about the current landscape for creative, progressive people . . .
I wish there was more financial investment in its artists. There is a TON of support in the way of people attending art events but many people don’t end up buying any art at all. When people invest in an artist by buying a work of their art at these events, it helps more than people know! We can pay bills and continue to pursue our artistic passions.
Any exciting collaborations (past or present) you would like to tell us about?
The collaboration to create the pediatric mobile art program with Cancer Connection of Northwest Ohio has been inspiring. I’m hoping to help make a difference with those families and kids dealing with cancer!
Name one person (living or deceased) who you would love to collaborate with.
Van Gogh for sure, I enjoy crazy people.
Name a CD, book or website you can’t live without.
Youtube! I look up and play art/artist documentaries all the time while I’m painting. It’s also great for seeing how other artists are having success.
3 words that best describe me or my work are . . .
Whimsical, colorful & entertaining
Give us 5 Desert Island Album picks.
Nirvana - “Nevermind”
Foo Fighters - “Greatest Hits”
Stone Temple Pilots - “Purple”
Queen - “Greatest Hits”
Led Zeppelin - “IV”
My biggest vice is . . .
Coffee and bacon… just plain, crispy bacon
I’d like to see __________ in Toledo.
An art patron with a large check book who absolutely loves my work
What’s the last dream you recall having?
I have VERY crazy dreams all of the time. I did however just have dream where I spent the whole time looking for a bathroom before waking up and realizing that in real life, I had to go to the bathroom!
The last lyric that moved me was . . .
I'm looking to the sky to save me
Looking for a sign of life
Looking for something to help me burn out bright
I'm looking for a complication
Looking cause I'm tired of lying
Make my way back home when I learn to fly
One movie character I identify with is . . .
Chewbacca, because I really need a haircut.
The best gift I’ve ever received was . . .
The opportunity to quit the day job to do art full time.
My most inspiring moment was/is . . .
Setting fire to my tie on my last of work at the day job.
I want my last meal to be _______________.
A bacon wrapped filet mignon, with a double helping of garlic mashed potatoes, tiramisu for dessert, and a large of glass water from the fountain of life so that doesn’t end up being my last meal.Back to All Creative Natives