The Butler Arts Center has unveiled The Journey from Outside In, a 20-by-40-foot painting by Indianapolis artist Justin Vining that required 263 hours of work spread over three months and 25.5 gallons of paint.
The painting, which will hang in the Clowes Memorial Hall lobby for a year, depicts sunrise over the Indianapolis skyline, the Butler University campus, and farmland on the outskirts of town. The Clowes Hall lobby is open to visitors Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
“My inspiration for the painting really stems from my time as an elementary art school teacher, and a lot of my early work as a professional artist,” Vining said. “Super whimsical, very brightly colored, tons of movement. Because of its massive scale, there’s a lot of room for playful fun. When thinking about this, I had a lot of different ideas churning, but I thought that style of my artwork would lend itself best to this project.”
Vining’s painting is the first piece commissioned by the Arts Center. Ty Sutton, Executive Director of the Butler Arts Center (Clowes Hall, the Schrott Center for the Arts, the Eidson-Duckwall Recital Hall, and Lilly Hall Studio Theatre), said a painting of this size is “a true challenge for any artist.”
“This is the size of a two-bedroom apartment at 800 square feet,” he said. “When I met with Justin for the first time, I was confident that he was the perfect choice for our first commission. The amount of work and dedication, and the extraordinary number of man-hours and support this took from Justin’s entire community of supporters is really something special.”
Vining is an Indianapolis-based artist, specializing and landscapes and cityscapes. He studied Art Education at Purdue University and taught elementary art for three years. Following his tenure as a teacher, Vining attended Valparaiso Law School, where he rekindled his love for creating between classes and clerking. Shortly after graduating and passing the bar in 2010, he decided to pursue art full time and hasn’t looked back since.
Originally from a small farm town in Indiana, Vining finds inspiration from American regionalist painters and WPA-era public works. In his progress as a full-time artist, his artwork has evolved from bright, whimsical watercolors and acrylics to more classical oil scenes. In his exploration of oils, he’s begun working en plein air and exploring more muted, natural tones. In 2017, he plans to continue his exploration in oils, balancing this new found love of plain air painting with his studio work.
Starting in 2009, Vining’s work has been displayed in cities and towns throughout Indiana. His exhibits and shows in 2017 have included the 93rd Annual Hoosier Salon Exhibit, Juried Exhibit at the Indiana State Museum; “Painting in the Parks,” a group exhibit in the Garfield Park Art Center; and “Chasing Daylight,” new work by Indiana Plein Air Painters, Hoosier Salon, Carmel.