Art | Photography | Design
Justin Raphael Roykovich is a conceptual and research based artist working in and between New York, Washington, DC and currently Minneapolis. He received his MFA in Visual Art from the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University in 2014. Previously he received his BFA in Art and Visual Technology, cum laude and with departmental honors from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia in 2011. His work takes physical form in installations of photography, video and materially based sculptures. His practice involves archiving and researching to connect data through time & space 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.
His childhood home was haunted, and he was seemingly predestined to involve himself in areas of the 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 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.
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.
Current Artist's Statement:
I grew up in a haunted house. As a child, 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 find the edges to slip myself through. As I grew up, I became more and more in tune with an inherent desire to peal back that veil, to try to decipher how my universe worked and to give explanations to what seemingly had no strings. That desire led me through the phases of my life and into an art practice where I have still have room left to fill with questions and insights into how to bridge spaces between the phantasms of unseen planes and the tangible realities of existence. With that, I soon came to realize that everyday we are surrounded by ghosts: not merely supernatural entities, but temporal, fleeting moments – ephemeral in nature, disappearing often as soon as they make themselves known. A similar notion can be applied to the nature of art, specifically installation.
Theater can also be similarly attributed. Despite the seriality of performance, a live act truly happens live only once – both for the audience and for the performer. A first, true experience cannot be recreated. In fact, repeated performances simply retrace the steps once bravely outlaid to form a familiar path, where one then follows the now trodden road due more to habit than to forging. (Yet that is not to discount the exploration in familiar terrain and the finding of new in the familiar – conversely, much meaning that we find in our paths is only reached by reexamination.) Furthermore, fourth wall of theater is like a glass window that the audience can see through, but never physically enter. Memory is like that wall. People often expect to be manipulated by theater (and also by film), and in engaging with the medium, they allow their belief systems to be temporarily suspended - beliefs in what is acceptable, capable and possible in the natural world. The same is true with memory and the transient, malleable recollection of history. Through our interpretation of events, we create our own fictions and our stories of how we came to be.
In my work, I stage scenarios where an audience can enter the space of my exploration into environmental memory. This allows for an immersion into an abstraction of space, breaking the fourth wall picture plane into four experiential dimensions. I then call upon material to make a physical recollection, a documentation of a moment, a freeze frame in what our brain sees as a linear time trajectory. Not surprisingly, photography and video or often mediums of choice. Yet also is printmaking, where a hand can have power over the lines of pathways, the layers to the road, the history of the mark.
That abstraction of history and space through interpretive recollection is something immensely important to my work. If we’re speaking of history, we know from relativity that time is not linear, but that everything exists at once; that the past, the present and the future are all congruently happening at the same, well, time. Indeed through quantum mechanics, what we all call reality can be read as one large abstraction, albeit based on the balance between qualitative and quantitative data. Therefore, there is already a level of abstraction that lies inherently within the makeup of our reality, and in that regard, the abstract can be indeed literal – where any hope of representation is made literal by the mere act of trying to decipher what we perceive as our reality. Within that quandary - for me - there is an inherent wonder and awe and curiosity about life while considering the physical and psychic conditions at being in any given intersection of time and place, all the while still being privy to the layers of reality that exist beyond us in spacetime. I place myself, and enjoy being, in that four-dimensional station where paths cross.
In that, art can act as the optimistic agnostic in the equation, the anti-totalizing presence that can never be known. My work then seeks to add some function to an exploration of the periphery of relation, to add to an understanding of unknown experience – all the while allowing what exists beyond that boundary the space it needs to continue to be extraordinarily queer. The abstractions lie in a notion of how random and seemingly meaningless elements can combine to make up my work and make up my personal history – essentially making up a life; how the random and seemingly meaningless data flitting about in the universe makes up “us.” Science tells us that according to probability, “we” should not exist. Yet here we are, that small percentile that just happens to “be.” Because in some ways, just being is the abstraction and we’re left to make sense of what information we have to go off of.
A few further notes for the inclined:
I very much view this site as an artistic archive. This is foremost helpful for me as I create, but I hope also to those who might like to get to know my work. I once was told by a very wise mentor of mine that I needed to view all of my work as one, long trajectory and then find ways to break off pieces from that arc. Those pieces will then ultimately come together to build the whole. While it may seem obvious, that advice really changed the way I worked at the time and has been an ever furthering agent whenever I get stuck still.*
Subsequently, this site is built much the same way. While there are separate pieces, all of my work interrelates and builds off of previous iterations, and this site helps in making the proper connections. Included here is work that I view as "Work" work - i.e. what I personally consider my most important work to date, but it also includes work that supports that trajectory - the important steps that helped me climb a little bit further. I am also a big believer in the common consciousness and find often that others are interested in the same themes I am. I will link that work I come across by my contemporaries which informs and supports what I am doing, both inadvertently and by direct influence.
And just a quick note about copyright: I protect all of the online representations of my work under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-ShareALike 4.0 International License. Under this license, other artists my distribute the accessible, digital versions of my work non-commercially, as well as adapt the work as long as the exact license is applied to the result.
More information can be found at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/deed.en_US
As an artist who borrows from the culture that informs him, I cannot hold absolute rights to that which I critique, remix and redefine. I put out my work to the public respectfully and with the expectation that credit will be given where credit is due; not only to myself, but also to the influences that have informed me so. Imperfect as we all may be, the contributions we all have made to our society and culture should be properly and respectfully observed - and then used to create further discourse for the advancement of understanding without legal obstruction.
*Similarly, one of my favorite books is Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott. If you are ever having trouble moving forward, I highly recommend.
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 with me about editions and availability by sending a note to jrroykovich at gmail dot com, or by using 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.