Gary Justis

Gary Justis
Bloomington, Illinois, US
April 04
Gary Justis has worked primarily in the area of kinetic sculpture for the last 34 years. He lived and worked in Chicago from 1977 to 1999. He currently resides in Bloomington Illinois, where he teaches and writes stories about his actual experiences. (please take a look at his "Sculpture" link for more info)


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JUNE 21, 2011 9:03AM

Kathryn's Second Angel

Rate: 23 Flag

Homage to Tom Selleck1a

Homage to Tom Selleck (jokingly referencing his famous mustache, but this form could be easily interpreted as something else), postcard, aluminum, pewter, 4 x 6 inches


  At Illinois State University's College of Fine Arts, we make postcards every year to be sold in a silent auction for the benefit of our student scholarship funds. Friends of the Arts, a benevolent group of people from our community, who support the Arts at the University, hosts this event. It is a well-conceived and totally successful fundraiser that has come to include the talents of many artists in the University’s community

  I always encourage my sculpture students to fabricate at least one postcard benefit piece. We customarily make the cards from metal, using our processes to cast pewter and aluminum. Our postcards are almost always three-dimensional. Some students will make two or more cards. This is a fun process, and it provides a break from our normal curricular routines while helping the student community.

 One of the postcards I made this year was an aluminum plate with a pewter mustache attached to the front of the card. With the advice of my graduate student, Emily, we named the card Homage to Tom Selleck. This was a good laugh, conjuring Hollywood’s most famous moustache.

 When I delivered the mustachioed postcard to the College of Fine Arts office, the secretary, Kathryn, looked at the work with such delight and a strange knowing, as if she already knew about the title of the card.

   “It’s called Homage to Tom Selleck.”

 She looked at me with impish skepticism.

   “Oh no…no, it’s not about that.”

   “What do you think it is about?” I was amused enough to play along.

   “Those are Angel Wings.”

 Kathryn’s face was relaxed and thoughtful as her gaze remained fixed on the card. I felt a knee-jerk reaction come on and I pushed it out of my mind.

    “Okay…If that’s what you see. I kind of see it too.”


Homage to Tom Selleck detail

   Homage to Tom Selleck (detail), postcard, aluminum, pewter, 4 x 6 inches


I thought to myself, “How silly.”

 Then, when I reflected on the look of peace that formed her sweet expression, I felt a deeper sense of her kindheartedness. I decided I had to make her something similar…a small work perhaps.

 Sometimes I wonder about the things some people say. There is a default method some people use to claim un-verified experience. Many people see the world this way, where finer things exist, invisible, yet active. Seeing things thus, is their given right. For the difficulty in knowing the value of working with others, there is the price of letting go of one’s bias (that is not so bad…smoking is equally as destructive for the mind as it is for the body).

 If I am cynical to the point of shutting down when I sense small talk, or medium-sized talk, I fail to see the magnitude of the mediated experience…until those mediated ideas from the experience re-present themselves in another form. There is a bit of the divine in this, and I cannot find another way of determining why lessons come to us in endless patterns of hopeful deliberations.

 For me, these other forms of mediated experience are discovered most often in the creative processes. I aquired a special camera a while back and discovered a system for making short video sketches using light and movement. This was a fortunate thing. These works are formative and still experimental, yet they cast meaning despite their simplicity. In one of the works I found something that made me think of Kathryn.

 In all creative processes, small miracles are embedded within the fabric of the everyday, and you have to be still, watch and let their individual natures unfold. Kathryn saw angel wings several weeks before, and when a small vision was later discovered in one of my videos, her words formed the character of that marvelous moment.


 Kathryn’s Second Angel, HD macro-video, 2011


I wanted to thank the wonderful individuals working in the Dean’s Office of the College of Fine ArtsIllinois state University. They work hard at administrating and teaching in one of the finest Colleges In the country.


Kathryn Anderson, Secretary IV

Barry Blinderman, Director - University Galleries

Brandon Burling, Ticket Office Manager

Pete Guither, Assistant to Dean

Lin Hinds, Administrative Clerk

Gabriel Johnson, Registrar - University Galleries

James Major, Dean

Laurie Merriman, Assistant Dean

Kendra Paitz, Curator - University Galleries

Tony Preston-Schreck, Curator - University Galleries

Nathan Rudge, Business/Administrative Associate

Janet Tulley, Assistant Dean

John Walker, Executive Associate Dean

Shari Zeck, Associate Dean


Also thanks to Tony Crowley, our Director of the School of Art, and all the faculty, staff and students who work hard to advance our School towards excellence.



 photos and video copyright © 2011 by Gary Justis



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Have you sent this to Tom? :) Angel wings is what I saw too.
Hello Linda....thanks, I would love to send this to Mr Selleck. I admire him very much.
I smiled the minute I saw the shining Angel wings. The title confused me and I struggled to remember if he started some charity for children. Then I giggled because I'm a dork and until I read the post I didn't know why you referenced Tom Selleck.

I adore Kathryn's second Angel as it flies up to become a brilliant point of light. Maybe it's because I don't think of mustaches very often but I think of Angels every day.

I love your videos Gary, I can watch one a few times and each time I the color and how it moves and changes, I love it more.
Love the postcard, and the video too. I see my art with different eyes than others do, and with different memories and experiences, I interpret that input.
l'Heure Bleue, thank you. I think I might change the caption so it's less confusing. I appreciate your kind comment. I think about those things all the time (videos and angels...not moustaches)

dianaani, I am glad you are bringing something to this. thanks for your comment!
Trippy flick there, Gary! Love this!

"Small miracles are imbedded within the fabric of the everyday.."
That really speaks to me.

Lovely, remarkable, way of being, Gary.
seeing things with someone else's eyes is often so enlightening (no pun on your film/light experiment), but it's hard to stop our own brains long enough to do it. switch eyes, that is. lovely piece, gary. the postcard is *wonderful* - those ripple-y circles at the moustache's ends!
From hair to wings, it is the light that makes the magic.
I see!

And, I see again!
Thanks Cathy, The light coming out was a happy discovery. there's several versions of this on Flickr.

Candace, No problem about stopping my happens all the time.
thanks for the visit!

Mary, Hello. Thanks for seeing this and I am seeing other things in it each time.
That was very cool.
There is a bit of the divine in this. ~

thanks, Gary ~
This beautiful Gary. I love how the wings become white light as it floats up the wall.
Very creative with an endearing story. Much is in the point of view. I see an ornate drawer handle too.
Trilogy, thanks and I think the same of you…..

Catch-22, there might be, when you give yourself enough time and permission to dream again. The thing about getting older that I like, is being able to hold onto my dreams. They are mine, and if they are still only in my mind, its Okay…they may or may not be manifested in the physical realm. Whatever happens, is fleeting, and at some point the visualization of an event, either fiction, or fact nourishes us when we remember, or conjure. I guess that’s what writers do.

Susie, the light was difficult to configure, but after many tries, it turned out the best strategy was using a simple geometric form, with metallic coating. It happened by accident when I was ready to give up. That’s the best scenerio.

FusunA, the ornate is very prominent in the card itself. As we imagine divine creatures w wings, the ornate is the least we can expect from beings who don’t have to conform to the laws of physics.
This is beautiful...on so many levels. What a lovely piece to read on my return to OS...thank you.
I always encounter unique and compelling visions on your site. This is lovely. I see the wings develop and then, like gossamar, they converge into pure light. Nice video. Thanks.
Oh that sculpture really shines through the dark light and more..thanks for sharing this...I did not know till today that you were so involved in sculpture. Good one Justice.
Sorry about mistyping your name there.
...clearly, it's what you do, Gary Justis. The idea of having the idea...
This is lovely.~r
Of course they're Angel wings. How could they be anything but. -R-
I love this Gary. I think you're right, we must allow ourselves to see through other eyes regardless of our intention and vision. Thanks for the beautiful and exquisite reminder.
My dearest M. Justis ~ The Fine Arts, as you so very kindly and consistently present, are but a key to our hearts and spirits. Where some might need a little chuckle about M. Selleck, others may divine a benediction. The vast range of your beautiful works are an inspiration! I utterly adore both of these exquisite and delicate pieces!
Mary Ann, Happy to see you return! Thanks for the sweet comment.

Shiva, I hope to project that video in another venue sometime. There are good installation possibilities for these. Thank you for your visit and great comment.

Algis, Thank you for the visit. I think light is the key in both sculpture and photography. Rodin used to look at his sculpture in lamplight, giving the forms more possibilities. The name thing is fine. It happens a lot.

Cath-22, I don’t’ know of many other realms I would rather reside in…at least in thought. Thanks.

Thank you Joan!

Christine, I agree now…thank you for the visit.

Hello Barry, I was admiring your lovely newest post. I need to think of a good comment. It’s a great piece. Thank you for your kind comment about seeing through the eyes of others. I missed the parenting aspect of that and feel incomplete sometimes. Kathryn’s comment awakened something, and I am grateful. Best wishes to you Barry.

Monsieur, Thank you for your comment. Your responses are always generous and are small works of art in themselves. I’m usually left speechless. I’m very pleased you find the work interesting. Thank you for the visit, and thanks always for your fine work you share with us.
Gary...I saw a moustache, too...and a lighted spirit with wings of your creation in your beautiful video...xox
I love it as a mustache and I love it as angel wings. I see the second one too!
I saw wings for a split second until I read the title. I really enjoyed the winged video!
oh my. i played this over and over and still i felt a swell as they rose, white and lovely.
Thank you for being on OS Gary, I enjoy your well thought out posts immensely.
This is beautiful and thoughtful. Are you leaving ISU? Thinking of leaving ISU? My alma mater? hmmm.....
Robin, thank you for the sweet comment, I can imagine, after reading much of your great work, how you see this, and I’m happy you like it.

Bellwether, I think it does double as both…thanks!

Anne, Glad you enjoyed the video. These short ones are still rough, being developed.

Hello Rita, Thank you as well for being here. With your lovely poetry and ensights.

MAWB, thank you….No, I am staying as long as they will have me. It is the best position I have ever had, and I feel honored and privileged to have it. I work with some very fine folks, who selflessly provide guidance, share ideas, and are continually inspiring.

Bob, Thanks so much for coming to look. Always a pleasure to see you come around!
Your students are most fortunate. I see the invisible wings here.