Justin Apperley Yukon Prize icon 2023 Longlist

Artist Bio

Justin Apperley is an artist based on the traditional territory of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in. Justin holds an MFA at The Glasgow School of Art and a BDes from OCAD and the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Selected exhibitions include Bloomberg New Contemporaries, Leeds Art Gallery & South London Gallery, Leeds & London, UK (2019), Cowboys Can’t Sleep, Klondike Institute of Arts and Culture, Dawson City, CA (2022), Silver Linings, Yukon Arts Centre, Whitehorse, CA (2020), Last Futures, Tramway, Glasgow, UK (2018), and Pin-Up, Mercer Union, Toronto, CA (2011). Selected publications include Dust to Oaxaca, by Colour Code Printing, Toronto, CA (2016), and Freeze up / Break up, by Rockbottom Press, Los Angeles, USA (2015). Justin is a former KIAC Artist-in-Residence at the Macaulay House (2013), has work acquired as part of the Yukon Permanent Art Collection (2020) and was longlisted for the Scotiabank New Generation Photography Award (2021).

Artist Statement

Justin Apperley explores the nostalgia of carousal and collapse in counter-cultural communities, predominantly within a rural setting. Working with photography, sculpture and print media, Apperley’s practice deals with emerging themes of climate change, nomadic futures and alternative survival strategies.

Justin captures portraiture, landscapes and northern stills through analogue large-format film processes served to present a romantic, if not dazed glimpse into the traditional territory of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in and it’s intersectional, alternative, queer, do-it-yourself, off-grid, transient population. These images are mounted onto harvested sheet metal and then welded, cut, riveted or hand-warped with regards to the sculptural intention of each image. Moved by Hakim Bey’s Theory of Temporary Autonomous Zones and notions regarding Pirate Utopias as hidden feral uprisings; festive, stateless movements that thrive within a black-market and rely on a D.I.Y. counter-network. Justin works to paint narratives marrying moments of utopic euphoria and dystopic delirium, especially within frameworks of self-sufficiency and communal living. 

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“The sea-rovers and corsairs of the 18th century created an “information network” that spanned the globe: primitive and devoted primarily to grim business, the net nevertheless functioned admirably. Scattered throughout the net were islands, remote hideouts where ships could be watered and provisioned, booty traded for luxuries and necessities. Some of these islands supported “intentional communities,” whole mini-societies living consciously outside the law and determined to keep it up, even if only for a short but merry life.” (Bey, Hakim, 1985. T.A.Z.: The Temporary Autonomous Zone, Ontological Anarchy, Poetic Terrorism.)

Highlighting thriving connections, engagement in collective togetherness and sharing of limited resources in trivial conditions [ie. extreme weather, isolation, fires, and lack of accessible amenities in the north]. Justin serves to thread the discrepancy between systems that work within chaos and celebrations of idealized bush existence.

Justin Apperley

Photo by Amna Elnour

Justin Apperley, Fireweed River, 1 of 3, 2021

"Fireweed River"

2021, Inkjet Prints on Steel, Rusted Chain, Rusted Bobcat Digging Tooth, Dimensions Variable & 52”x76”

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Collecting Firewood, 2022 | Justin Apperley

"Collecting Firewood"

2022, Inkjet Prints on Aluminum, Inkjet Prints on Steel, Inkjet Prints on Disused Road Signage, Rusted Gold Sluice Netting, Rusted Railroad Ties, Rusted Wiring, Sun-Stained Cowboy Shirt, Rusted Nail, Rusted Link, Tailgate Plate, Rusted Exhaust Pipe, Rusted Cotter Pin, Rusted Bobcat Digging Tooth, Rusted Chain, Black Spruce, Dimensions Variable & 45”x52”

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Hidden Not Hiding, 2019 | Justin Apperley

"Hidden not Hiding"

2019, Rusted Oil Barrel, Rusted Spring, Tube TV Monitor, 5mins.

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Bushed, 2021 | Justin Apperley


2021, Inkjet Print on Steel, Inkjet Prints on Aluminum, Rusted Cotter Pin, Rusted Railroad Ties, Rusted Wiring, Rusted Chain, Rusted Engine Piston, Dimensions Variable & 52”x60”

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Justin Apperley, Bloomberg New Contemporaries, 1 of 3, 2019

"Bloomberg New Contemporaries"

2019, Inkjet Prints on Dibond, 30”x30” & 20”x20

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Rabid n Rural, 2019 | Justin Apperley

"Rabid n' Rural"

2019, Inkjet Prints on Disused Road Signage, Plaster Nails, Terracotta Bricks, Dimensions Variable & 82”x60”

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Consider Looking As An Exercise In Survival_, 2019 | Justin Apperley

"Consider Looking as an Exercise in Survival"

2019, Inkjet Prints on Steel, Inkjet Print on Aluminum, Dimensions Variable & 40”x76”

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Justin Apperley, Cowboys Can't Sleep, 2 of 3, 2022

"Cowboys Can’t Sleep"

2022, Inkjet Prints on Steel, Inkjet Prints on Disused Road Signage, Rusted Weld, Truck Bumper, ‘The Yukon’ Holographic Sticker, Dimensions Variable & 16”x20”

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