Justyn Hegreberg

Artist Interview: Justyn Hegreberg


Justyn Hegreberg
 lives with his family in a small house with a big yard surrounded by a vibrant community of stray cats. In his free time he can be found riding his bike all over Portland with his wife in search of pastries and coffee, or macerating ores in Minecraft with his stepson.

What's involved in your process of art making?

Making something, for me, usually starts with some sort of challenge. The challenge is casual. Rarely are there formal rules. The idea is to find a starting point quickly before I have time enough to convince myself that I really should be doing something else. These starting points are often materials that I find while riding my bike around the city. They are also frames that I buy at thrift shops. Paintings that didn't work, or perhaps a color. 

"Make it work" really is a great mantra. I suppose I do have one rule, that isn't really a rule, but I almost never throw something away once I have started it. This doesn't mean that I don't edit. Just that one piece may have actually gone through eight iterations. The left overs from one piece become parts of the next making them related bodies of work through a shared anatomy. 


What are you excited about right now?

The horizon. I will be visiting the coast soon and will be able to see it again. Living in the city has been difficult after a childhood growing up in Idaho surrounded by wilderness. It took me a while to figure out what it was that I was missing. I just knew that whenever I went downtown I needed to stop at the middle of the Broadway Bridge and look out over the Willamette River to see the expanse of miles unfold into distant mountains. I had developed the vague notion that something about seeing the horizon was extremely important to me. That all of the houses and buildings precluded a natural resting place for the gaze. 

Then I read an affirming essay by John Berger in which he wrote "Yet if Bosch's vision of hell is prophetic, the prophecy is not so much in the details - haunting and grotesque as they are - but in the whole. Or, to put it another way, in what constitutes the space of hell. There is no horizon there. There is no continuity between actions, there are no pauses, no paths, no pattern, no past and no future. There is only the clamour of the disparate, fragmentary present. Everywhere there are surprises and sensations, yet nowhere is there any outcome. Nothing flows through: everything interrupts. There is a kind of spacial delirium." 

That and I kinda wanna see some barnacles. 


What's next?

I have a solo show here in Portland coming up in May at FalseFront. With my work I rarely know what is next. That's what makes it so enjoyable. However, I have felt the desire to make some more collages. I have also been interested in, yet not attempted, screen printing.