Justine Lucas was raised by poets and painters in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco, California. As a young child, she excelled in painting and won several art contests for her drawings and paintings. She attended an arts charter school for part of middle school, where she first found her love for sculpture. For high school, she auditioned for and attended San Francisco School of the Arts, where she focused on figurative studies in painting and in sculpture. After graduation, and a gap year in the circus, she went on to attain her BFA from San Francisco State University in Studio Art with a dual emphasis in Painting and Sculpture, and a minor in World Music & Dance. Her mediums of choice at this point were oil paint, and wood and metal sculpture. Since graduating, Justine has continued creating and showing work in California. Her artwork focuses on the secret life of circus performers, as inspired by her years traveling with several local and international circus art troupes (scroll down for details).
"I'm interested in the human behind the character ~ I work to convey the secret vulnerable emotions of great performers of my generation. A lot of my work follows the lives of circus performers, artists, and musicians, because that's who I seem to surround myself with."
Justine Lucas first discovered her passion for circus arts in a circus summer camp at the AcroSports center in San Francisco. Fascinated, she returned every summer for 7 years. Her focus areas were clowning, costume design, and prop design. She simultaneously attended Shakespeare theatre camp each summer as well and went on to study musical theatre in middle school. After graduating from an arts high school, she returned to her circus summer tradition and spent several months on tour with Northern California performance troupe Cirkus Pandemonium, where she lived on a giant purple tour bus with 10 other circus performers.
She started college at SFSU, creating a well-rounded degree in the arts studying as many forms as she could at once (painting, sculpture, music, and dance), and spent summers on tour either with other circus troupes (Freelove Circus, Humboldt Circus) or her own music performance project (The Jaunting Martyrs).
After college, Justine left SF completely on a continent-wide circus tour. She explored the US & Canada with various music groups and circus productions for 3 years, studying the art of performance, costume design, and stage production. Based in San Francisco, California, Justine Lucas now runs an independent film company, a jazz and swing big band dance cabaret, and continues exploring the lives of performers and artists with her own painting and illustrations.