Justin Colt Beckman received a BFA from Art Center College of design in 1998 and an MFA in sculpture from Central Washington University in 2008. He enjoys a rural lifestyle with a home and studio in the small community of Ellensburg, Washington. He is a founding member of PUNCH Gallery, an artist-run space in Seattle’s Pioneer Square (2008-2016), and serves as board president for the rural arts collective PUNCH Projects.
Beckman has exhibited work both locally and nationally including Art Share in Los Angeles, CA; The Museum of Art in Ft. Lauderdale, FL; G.A.S.P. in Boston, MA; Tacoma Art Museum’s 8th Northwest Biennial; The Frye Art Museum, Seattle, WA; Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, and 3rd Ward in Brooklyn, NY. He is a past recipient of an Artist Trust Gap Grant and a 4-Culture Site-Specific Project Grant, and has work in the permanent collection at Tacoma Art Museum.
Based around an investigation of the unique characteristics of small-town life and the rural landscape, Justin Colt Beckman’s work explores the dichotomy of urban and rural cultures, their associated stereotypes, and the effects each has on the other. Essentially a city boy with country boy tendencies, he uses photo-based works, film/video, sculpture, installation, and new-media to engage with and better understand his rural surroundings.
Most recently, his work has focused on the historic nature of the urban/rural dichotomy and the relationships between the industrialized and technologically advanced parts of the American Union and rural or underrepresented cultures existing in the farmlands and frontier territories. The ongoing digital collage series “How the West Was Won,” for example, juxtaposes contrasting subjects, such as atomic clouds and Native Americans, or cowboys and B-52 Bombers, as a way to reinterpret the story of the American Union’s expansion into the Western Territories, while calling attention to the United States’ history of unfair treatment to native populations. Though most of the works in this series have been exhibited as framed prints, the images have also been combined with found video footage and have been displayed not only in the gallery environment, but also site specific locations ranging from city building exteriors to rural barns and outbuildings.