Equanimity: A Poem by Artist Justin Gaffrey

Categories: Art, People,
November 7, 2013,

To say that we here at VIE love Justin Gaffrey’s art would be a colossal understatement. Since he began using his unique style of “sculpting with paint” to bring our beloved 30-A area to life in 2001, many locals and visitors have enjoyed watching the creative growth in his work. From the originally primitive, folk art style to the three-dimensional landscapes and flora he has become nationally known for, Justin’s work seems to be constantly evolving along with his experiences and emotions.

In 2012, his Sculpted series sprouted from an experiment inspired by the driftwood horse sculptures in Alys Beach, Florida. “the spirit of the horse.” The idea became an 8′ x 6′ equine masterpiece using about 300 pounds of paint. Justin’s lovely and passionate director, Christy Milliken, says “It was a labor of passion to discover new territory within Justin’s evolving creative mind and spirit.”


The driftwood horse gave way to Justin’s ’sculpted’ style and was followed by a series of fauna creations and experiments including deer, owls, alligators, and even a scorpion. His bold depictions of the wildlife that surrounds us here in Northwest Florida is raw, yet mystical in the way it seems to come from the magical world beyond his canvas.

But even more magical, as VIE publisher, Lisa Burwell, discovered today, is Justin’s ever-evolving spirit. He created over 500 works this past year, and shared with us that next year, he hopes to decrease the numbers in favor of doing bigger, more prolific pieces that reflect his recent shift in mood. With a tremulous leap into even newer waters, Justin reveals that his current vision is much more introspective, bringing his emotions and inspirations to the canvas like never before.

As his first piece in this soul-exposing collection, Equanimity, suggests, there are many great things to come. Justin’s inspiration for this piece was drawn from a recent trip to the Walker Art Center and Sculpture Garden in Minneapolis, where he viewed the sculpture Hare on Bell by Barry Flanagan. There Justin saw life hanging in the balance of desire, peace, and love, and from there evolved a sketch (main photo), poem, and, then, new painting, with the hare as a focal point. Read more about this journey and discovery on the Justin Gaffrey blog, view the painting, and read the poem below. We hope it will inspire you as it did us, with visions of creativity ever-flowing and a peaceful, well-balanced life for the coming new year. Thank you, Justin!

Poem: Equanimity

Balanced by the grace of fearlessness,

Sprinting through monolithic judgements,

Empty Confidence,

Where is my ego?

They can’t hurt me anymore.

Love by the grace of evaporating moments,

No more bondage of intellect or ignorance,

No pride or humility,



By Justin Gaffrey

Read more about Justin’s work and his journey in VIE’s Sept./Oct. 2012 (cover story) and May/June 2013 issues.

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