Born in Bayonne, NJ in 1979, Justin Smith began drawing and painting before he can even remember. From early on, the pollution of his hometown’s industrial landscape, coupled with his love for science fiction and superhero comics, sparked a lifelong fascination with the havoc man has wreaked upon the environment and what kind of repercussions it may have on our bodies and minds.
As a Media Arts major at New Jersey City University, he combined his many artistic skills and interests into a body of work that was both highly experimental and easily accessible, displaying his unique perspective in every film, painting, cartoon and soundscape he produced. Meanwhile, he began carving out a reputation as a formidable promotional artist for the underground rock and metal scene, creating memorable posters, t-shirts, and CD covers for bands such as Clutch, Negative Reaction, Atomic Number 76, and Abraham’s Meat Plow.
Upon graduating from NJCU, he quickly put his skills to use as a freelance storyboard artist and production designer whose clients have come to include MSNBC, Charles Schwab, and Firelight Films.
After moving to East Hampton, NY in 2005, Smith joined the Bonac Tonic Art Collective and participated in all their events from 2006 to 2012. It was during this time that Smith’s true artistic voice began to emerge via “The Mutonians,” a series of portraits depicting biomechanical hodgepodges and cryptozoological anomalies that spring forth when Smith’s imagination runs loose. It didn’t take long for these unusual pieces to find homes in some highly esteemed collections throughout the Northeastern United States.
Since relocating to Austin, Texas in 2013, Smith has once again kept busy as an illustrator and storyboard artist, while gearing up to start fresh with a new series of paintings highlighting the continuing saga of The Mutonians.