Thursday, January 19, 2012

Artists I Love: Justin Hillgrove

"Wild Ride" by Justin Hillgrove
When I first started attending WonderCon, it was for the nerd factor - animation, comic stuff, designer vinyl toys, seeing cosplayers in person. But what quickly became my favorite thing about the con is Artists Alley. This is where I always end up spending the majority of my carefully budgeted money, and I always wish I had more to spend - even if it's just to support these amazing artists.

"Bed Time Stories" by Justin Hillgrove
Last year I ran across a few artists I had never been exposed to, but fell in love with their work immediately. One of those people was Justin Hillgrove. He's based out of Washington, near Seattle, and specializes in monsters and robots. How could I resist that? I had a really hard time picking just one print, but ended up going home with a signed print of "You're the One": a tree monster cuddling a (Tim Burton-esque) toy duckie.
"Separation Anxiety" by Justin Hillgrove

I also got a chance to chat with him, and he was very humble and nice - especially accomodating since I took so long to decide on a print, and I'm sure he was thinking "just pick one already!". He even signed the print for me.

I love how detailed his work is, and how much emotion his pieces have. It may seem light-hearted, but you truly feel sad for the poor little reaper sitting on the gravestone, and your heart swells at the monster so attached to his toy. Each piece pulls you into a specific micro-world, as if you've popped your head through a window into another universe where monsters run freely through the woods with little creature friends gleefully clinging to their back for a joy-ride, or big tree monsters tell bedtime stories to the little ones all falling asleep in a pile. Almost unbearably sweet, and one of those prints you want to have on your wall so you can gaze at it (when you're supposed to be working) and imagine what life must be like in that wondrous world.
"You're the One" by Justin Hillgrove

Definitely check out his work. His prints are very affordable, and he even has iPhone cases and t-shirts. And if you're in the Seattle area, check out his show and festival listings to see his work in person.

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