Photo taken by Luke O’Donnell

Justin Lees is visual artist, graphic designer and photographer based in Newcastle, Australia.

Justin is visual artist based in the coastal town of Newcastle, Australia. Justin has been drawing for as long as he can remember, After earning his tertiary qualifications in Graphic Design and Photography (2009) Justin set out on new endeavours finally coming full circle and returning to his roots and rekindling his love of painting, photography and design into a full-fledged professional career as an abstract, expressionist painter.

Justin’s work is big, bright, vivid, very gestural with a lot of motion and layers, reminiscent of abstract expressionism and gestural abstraction periods from New York. With broad brush strokes of colour, along with the quickness and free flowing nature of finer strokes that are almost signature like in appearance, the artworks seem to take on a life of their own. Justin draws on a lot of feelings, emotions and memories to dictate the palate and allowing the energy of sound to inspire his work and to guide his movements.  A controlled mess, if you will.

Justin has had a number of solo and joint exhibitions at independent galleries in Newcastle throughout the late 2000’s and after a small hiatus from painting contributed to group shows as well as donating significant works towards charitable causes such HMRI and the Mark Hughes Foundation. In 2019, Justin was asked by the Hunter Medical Research Institute to be the 2019 resident artist, creating an original work to be auctioned off, raising over $7000. In June 2020, during a global pandemic, Justin had a near sold out solo show, “As We All Play Parts Of Tomorrow” at Blackstone Gallery in Newcastle, as well as being commissioned by multiple collectors to produce works. Justin was also commissioned by The Pink Frangipani Ball committee to create an original work, which is intended to be auctioned or sold, to further support HPCA and Pro-care Mental Health Services.

In 2021 Justin showcased at The Other Art Fair in Sydney in March, as well as produced two solo shows held at independent galleries in Newcastle, Onwards Studios and Blackstone Gallery.

Justin’s work exists in private collections throughout Australia, New Zealand, England and Europe.

SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2021  I Spent The Better Part Of A Decade Not Knowing Myself – Blackstone Gallery, Newcastle
2021  I See Shades Of Green Near The Cliff – Onwards Gallery, April
2020  As We All Play Parts Of Tomorrow – Blackstone Gallery, Newcastle, June
2007  Lovemetal – Sushi & Cigarettes Art Space, Newcastle, April
2006  Haggard – Volume Art Space, Newcastle, September
2005  Bang Bang – Volume Art Space, Newcastle, August
2004  Heartagram –  Volume Art Space, Newcastle, August

RESIDENCIES & NOTABLE COMISSIONS

2020  Frangipani Ball, Newcastle
2019  HMRI Artist in Resident, Newcastle

GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2021  Hide & Seek, Newcastle Art Space – Newcastle
2021  At The End You’ll Find The Shadow And Light – The Other Art Fair – Sydney
2020  These Narrow Heads, Mitch Revs Makers Creators Gallery – Newcastle
2020  IGN, Blackstone Gallery – Newcastle
2020  Emerging Artists, Newcastle Art Space – Newcastle
2019  Emerging Artists, Newcastle Art Space – Newcastle
2019  Divergent Interpretations, C Studio Gallery – Newcastle
2018  Abstracted Group Show, Gallery 139 – Newcastle
2017  Directors Choice Show, Gallery 139 – Newcastle
2016  Emerging Artists, Newcastle Art Space – Newcastle
2016  Abstracted +, Gallery 139 – Newcastle
2016  Emerging Artists, Newcastle Art Space –  Newcastle
2015  Double Wrap, Gallery 139 – Newcastle
2008  Choose Yer Poison, Sushi & Cigarettes Art Space – Newcastle

AWARDS

2020  Newcastle Emerging Artist (Finalist)
2019  Newcastle Emerging Artist (Finalist)
2017  Newcastle Emerging Artist (Finalist)
2016  Newcastle Emerging Artist (Finalist)

MEDIA