Senior Thesis Spotlight: Justin Poe


Those who know Justin Poe would describe him as easy-going, amiable person. He likes to cook and watch movies, and he enjoys spending time outdoors.  And while his unaffected affability can be noted in his work, he is a serious artist with something significant to say.

Justin grew up in Trilby, Florida, in a household that fostered an “atmosphere of building things,” as Justin put it.  His father was a builder and contractor, and his mother was a dried floral crafter, meaning she made and sold dried flower arrangements. His older brother was also a gifted artist, primarily in painting, and Justin says he learned a lot from him as well.

Thus, when Justin applied to Guilford, he declared an art major and submitted a portfolio as part of his admissions package. However, he also had an active interest in studying film, and Guilford only offers a film minor, so he added a double major with theatre (design track). Due the intensive nature of both courses of study, he ended up completing his theatre major in four years and returning to finish the art major.

Though Justin is interested in drawing and painting, he “tends to think in three dimensions,” so he chose sculpture as his concentration. For his current project, he says he is “using all the materials I can think of,” and working in a ‘hand-sized’ scale.

He has been recreating the form of a house, emphasizing its role as a cultural as well as historical icon rather than its function as a place.

Justin also explores color usage in his work and named Vincent Van Gogh as one of his all time favorite artists, mainly because of his palettes. Salvador Dali and the surrealist movement are also a source of inspiration for him.

So far, Justin is enjoying and growing from the thesis experience. “It’s helped me practice taking more time with presentation—the preparation of the space in which my artwork is viewed,” he says. He advises future art thesis candidates to keep an open mind and “to try not get too trapped in one idea in the first semester.”

After graduation, Justin plans to either enroll in a graduate school program or to pursue the opportunity to teach English in Thailand. We wish him the best of luck in what ever he decides and look forward to his final exhibit in the Spring.

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  1. […] the crowd had really grown, shuffling past each other to look through the magnifying glass at Justin Poe’s Nail Head House, or to marvel at Matt Putney’s underwear hanging on a wall just inside the […]

  2. […] of her ceramic pieces to stand out on a table by the door. The smallest work on display was that of Justin Poe, a house on the tip of a pen. The open studio was a hit, and is sure to become a tradition for the […]