Art | Photography | Design
Justin Raphael Roykovich is a conceptual and research based artist working in and between New York, Washington, DC and, most recently, Minneapolis. He received his MFA in Visual Art from the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University in 2014 + his BFA in Art and Visual Technology, cum laude and with departmental honors, from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia in 2011. While primarily a conceptual and research based artist, his work takes physical form in installations, photography, video, found-object based sculptures and writings - as well as this entire website. His practice involves investigating and archiving information to connect through time and space in order to document instances beyond the veil of the present, reaching back to the past and into the future. He combines varying media to create new narratives within our popular culture, redefining meaning and reinterpreting context in order to display new ways of viewing. His work as been shown across the United States and internationally. He is currently an artist in residence at the Galveston Artist Residency for the 2017-2018 cycle.
Want some dirt?
His childhood home was haunted, and he was seemingly predestined to involve himself in areas of the sublime & uncanny: his biological father was born in Amityville, New York, site of the well known alleged demonic possession and subsequent murder story; his maternal grandmother was born and raised in Sleepy Hollow, New York - the location known for the folklore of Washington Irving, who embedded into the American psyche a pervasive and ghostly cultural identity with his Headless Horseman; he himself was born in Aurora, Colorado, the site that would become infamous for the 2012 movie theater shootings where 12 people died. He was subsequently was raised in northern New Jersey, in a small, rural town that Weird New Jersey Magazine once coined the epicenter for "weirdness" in the entire state; in his hometown, he frequently traversed what some call one of the most haunted roads in America. More spooky. More (starts at 06:30). More (#2).
What's your sign?
He is a Virgo who shares a Leo cusp, with a Libra rising sign; he boldly likes his order with a healthy balance of chaos.
I work in a wide and varied manor in response to a conceptual, experimental and research based practice. I utilize photography, video, performance and installation to document and explore psychic environments of intersections, systems, networks and experience through time by a queer embodiment. Experimentation is key in this work. I explore locations - both the geographic and the liminal - to expose and document how the layers of history, folklore and psychic scars of a site can affect the phenomenological intersections of current physical, mental and emotional experiences within that place and time. These explorations result in large installations and mappings based off environmental recollection. When building my installations, they serve as an on-site nerve center to explore, document and connect these various histories - both personal and non - through found and made objects, photographs, print media, video and sculpture.
Again: Time. Through basic physics, we know that time depends on motion, and motion depends on having mass, even if infinitesimal. Our perception of time is dependent on how much attention our brain pays to it. So some of the questions I seek answers to are: what are the implications of time for things that are supposedly mass-less - like thoughts or consciousness – and especially the very idea of “being” something or someone? Are these things bound by the same natural laws, and what if they are not? These perceptions about our own realities reflect back in my work to investigate the wonder and awe surrounding these knowingly unanswerable and sublime questions. Yet, it is through these attempts at grasping for the materially intangible that leads me on a continuous exploration of my queer existence within what we see as reality. I catalog and document these attempts through the installation process and the interdisciplinary nature of my work.
The distance of physics-defined-locality between objects is thoroughly explored, as is the spatial and tangible memory that those objects hold in relationship to one another. I move beyond just the found or made object and into the information and personal history embedded within that material. I look to the properties of light and I ask what the unknown networks of the cosmos might be or the hidden systems of the multiverse, or where we may be connected through filaments of space-time - and how to provide a theoretical and visual connection to that. I wonder about the documentation of uncertainty, doubt that may happen on a psychic level, along with where and how our ability to no longer believe becomes embedded into the cornerstones of our psyche. I have since become ingrained in systems theory, social abstraction and physics. I am in dialog with other contemporary artists that deal with these broad ideas of humanity, perception, integration, environment (real and imaged), wonder and awe.
In the end, all the various components of my practice come together to abstract and interpret time, experience, existence, and show how random bits of data can make up personal and cultural realities - or, in essence, our lives when taken through a specific site. I think of this in terms of spatial relationships, layers of time and experience in one site, and how to fold down time to access all those layers at once. When we explore these personal sites, we are able to better relate to each other through found connections.
So far, I have documented this process in my own hometown, an area in upstate New York, an old World War 2 weapons facility, the Twin Cities area of Minnesota and now in Galveston, Texas.
The intellectual pursuits within my work grow out of these existential yet qualitative questions humanity faces about itself – (broadly speaking) why are we here, how are we here, what makes “us” physically and spiritually “us” - and how to interpret that data in a socio-political way. Primarily, these interests stem from an integral and formative site in my youth: my haunted childhood home. While growing up, the odd things that go bump in the night seemed normal to me, like they were the explanations of the noises and happenings backstage behind a thick, dense curtain of reality of which I could never really find the edges of to slip myself through. I now try to peal back that veil to decipher how our unseen universe works and to give explanation to what seemingly has no strings - to research peripheries of unknown experience, all while allowing what exists beyond that boundary the space it needs to continue to remain extraordinarily queer - using the meaning of that word here in all of its contexts, both as a reclaiming of a derogatory term of implicit sexuality, to also what is odd, what is strange and what cannot be defined.
The trajectory of my work continues as I myself move through space, documenting my own movement through time, and exploring the web of intersections that happen as we all flow from one state to another.
Want to whisper some sweet digital nothings in my cyber ear:
As a conceptual artist with no gallery representation, it is often very difficult to make money off of my work, as it does not always result in art objects of a traditional sense. However, I do offer small editions of my work, either in print or video form. Please simply inquire about editions and availability by sending a note through the form above. Also, I am openly looking for opportunities to travel and spend time in various sites across the world in an effort to continuously document and research these psychic histories that are embedded within geography and landscape. If there might be a location suggestion or request, again by all means, please get in touch.
Similarly, I most gratefully welcome any donations that would help support and continue the scope of my practice.
If you need to make a payment for a work that you may have ordered, or if you simply would like to make a donation, please click the button below to do so.