Curiously Complex Systems by

Justin McInteer is genuinely curious about things, and non-things for that matter.  It's probably fair to say that curiosity is central to his artwork, in both creation and presentation.  

Justin's physical world is rather small.  He spends most of his time working in his store-front studio on Sunset Blvd. in Echo Park.  He lives in a little house behind the studio with one dog, two cats, and six chickens - all girls. He grows food, cooks food, eats food, and works.  He devours audiobooks, mostly non-fiction.  And most importantly, he spends time looking and thinking; using moments to study something closely and truly wonder at its properties; its colors, its anatomical structure, its genetic code, its ancestry, its demise, its afterlife.  

Justin makes reference to symbols as code, that, like DNA, form an infinite variety from limited properties.  The line, when drawn, defines.  That is, once a mark is made, we attempt to understand it.  We perceive and respond to symbols.  And though the possibilities for line are endless, we gravitate to the same lines and shapes time and time again.  Justin asks rhetorically, "What is it about a circle that makes us feel good, safe, or complete?"  After a pause he continues, "I'm interested in how we respond to line and how it can transport us to a deeper understanding.  I use the word 'deeper' because I'm trying to avoid literal symbolic associations in favor for something a little more vague, but just as engaging, hopefully more so."  Throughout Justin's artwork there are script-like glyphs, familiar gestures, and linear paths that seem to scream meaning without revealing their secrets.  There's an enticing mystery in the work, like a code wanting to be broken.  It's a quality Justin readily acknowledges.  "I'm trying to create something that engages a viewers curiosity by hovering in that fine space between the recognizable and the unrecognizable, the known and the unknown, the perceivable and the unperceivable."




  • Justin had a tree fall on his house. Instead of building his dream home, he rebuilt it as before.
  • Justin loves music but usually listens to disco.
  • Justin was surprised when he began creating large square paintings.  He thought he was going to be building.  
  • Justin grew up in Kansas, but he's only called Los Angeles home.  
  • Justin has a sign painting business with his friend Katie called Beautification Solutions.  They have mad skills.   
  • Justin regularly uses technology while bemoaning it's affect on culture.  
  • Justin used to play a lot of music and even went on a couple of tours.  Now he occasionally jams with friends.  
  • Justin drinks water, white wine, and tea.  Ridiculous amounts of tea... and white wine, and water.  He drinks a lot.   
  • Justin has traveled widely but spends most his time within a couple of blocks of his home.
  • Justin's not into dogs, but when GD showed up on his 40th birthday, he mistook random for meaning.  And so she stayed.  
  • Justin has seen more live music than most see in a lifetime. This is why he seldom attends shows.  
  • Justin will eat anything that's prepared well, but his favorite dish is a perfect meat broth.  
  • Justin worked for many years in museums and non-profits as an art educator.  Now he works in his studio.  
  • Justin watches crime drama while eating breakfast and comedy while eating dinner.   
  • Justin used to be fairly social.  Now he's less so.  
  • Justin listens to five audiobooks a week.  This dramatically influences him yet he retains very little.  
  • Justin often listens to the cacophony of sounds along Sunset Blvd. and hears music.  
  • Justin grows the majority of his produce in several raised beds and a roof top garden.  His chickens help with eggs.
  • Justin lives in Los Angeles but is a long time subscriber to The New Yorker.  
  • Justin's first words were "get down" and he's still getting down today.
  • Justin hasn't really given much thought to Fun FAcTS and he's not really sure what to think of them now.

It should also be mentioned that Justin is a firm atheist, in that he believes in observational data.  "But," he insists, "that doesn't rule out the fantastical.  Quite the opposite in fact.  Every day scientists catch glimpses of all kinds of psychedelic strangeness hinting at the truly unbelievable.  And the more we learn, the weirder and more beautiful our cosmos becomes."  He insists being an atheist does not make him anti-religious.  In fact, he's fascinated with most religions and heavily influenced by the art of reverence; being especially drawn to the buddhist and hindu temples of Southeast Asia, echoes of which you can still see in his work today.  But religion is for someone seeking answers, for someone with endless curiosity, inquiry into the unknown is the only faith needed.  And with inquisitive zeal, Justin heads back into the studio for another night of work.