If you live, work or play in Broad Ripple, you’ve probably walked past Justin Vining’s studio at one point or another or even been greeted by his dog hanging out on the front porch. You can usually find him inside working on new pieces surrounded by colorful walls covered from floor to ceiling with an impressive art collection.
For those of you who haven’t seen Vining’s work, his watercolors and acrylic paintings can be described as looking similar to Tim Burton or Dr. Seuss landscapes. Vining’s interest in art goes back to high school when he took an art class as an elective, which sparked his interest in the subject. This interest stuck through his time at Purdue and his teaching career at Maple Ridge, but it was at the end of his first semester at Valpo Law that Vining’s true talent emerged. He picked up a paint brush and began to paint a series of work that was much stronger than what he had previously done. Vining went on to graduate and pass the Indiana Bar Exam, but he has continued to focus on creating art full-time.
This will be Vining’s third year as an ORANJE participant. “One of the things I love most about ORANJE is the variety of artists represented each year,” he said. “If you have experienced ORANJE, you know what I mean. If not, I high recommend coming this year!”
So where does Vining get his inspiration for the whimsical landscapes he creates? He credits three main influences: growing up on a farm, the creative minds of his former students and the artists that Vining admires and pays tribute to in his work. Some of those artists include painter/muralist Thomas Hart Benton, Grant Wood (best known for his American Gothic painting) and visual artist Andrew Wyeth. A little known fact about Vining is that he is an avid chess player, which is where the checkerboard pattern comes from that is frequently found in his work.
With hopes of one day being able to see his work in museums, Vining shows his pieces in Indianapolis at a variety of First Friday venues, including the Upland Propaganda Room and New Day Meadery, and art shows such as Penrod and Broad Ripple Art Fair. “ORANJE is a show that encourages artists to push their limits, be experimental and create an experience for those attending, so I look forward to creating a booth that is not just geared towards selling work but people can interact with it in some way,” said Vining. “The show is months away and I am already planning my booth. I look forward to seeing it come together during the final week leading up to the show.”