A Modern Artist
Enter the World of
Story of an Artist
Justine Martin’s successful corporate life was turned upside down in 2011 when she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Since then, she has battled three cancers and overcome a long list of serious medical conditions. Rather than allowing her hardship to overcome her, she has used it as a platform to inspire and make a difference in the lives of others.
Justine is a Resilience Consultant and Speaker, plus an advocate for medical care. She uses her own experiences of living with a disability to encourage others to take steps towards a positive future of their own by finding hope, overcoming adversity, and building resilience.
She speaks from the heart, connecting with many audiences through her varied background in corporate, sales, art, volunteer work, and experiencing illness.
She pursues any opportunity to inspire and empower members of the public, business owners, corporate teams, schools, and charitable and educational organisations.
She has made many media appearances in television, radio, and print media over the years, and ran for parliament in 2010-2013.
A multi-award-winning artist, Justine runs JUZT art Wellness classes in her studio in Marshall, Geelong.
Her own artwork is available to purchase at JUZT Art Gallery located at Café Zoo in Drysdale.
To reach as many people as possible with her powerful message of hope, Justine has developed an online course for people struggling to overcome life’s adversities: “Resilience Mindset: How you can gain resilience and hope in 8 weeks”.
Resilience Consultant and Speaker 2014-
Van-Go Decals 2021
Life Drawing Model 2016-
JUZT art Gallery
Art Curator 2015-
MS Ambassador 2015-
Geelong Weightlifting Club
Program Director / Weight loss Consultant 2010-2012
I am a mum of two adult children Zakariah and Alexandra, grandmother to 6. They are my biggest supports and both their homes are mini galleries of my work.
So how it all began, I was living in Perth and became very ill. After 6 months of tests, I was diagnosed with Remitting Relapsing MS in March 2011 and unfortunately, I had to stop work because of my disabilities.
I have some cognitive issues which include short term memory loss, I can no longer count properly anymore nor can I multi task. I have nerve pain in my feet and legs, they feel like razor blades slicing through them and occasionally it feels like electricity shooting out of them, fatigue is a major issue - I have to rest a lot and my mobility at times is affected. Occasionally at times I have to use a walking stick or wheel chair.
So, when my world crashed around me over 10 years ago, I was
forced to spend most of my days alone, not leaving the house or
seeing anyone. I had depression and anxiety.
I asked myself a lot of questions......
Wondering how I was going to fulfil the rest of my life.
What was I going to do with all of my time?
How would I now fill my days?
It has always been important for me to contribute back into society.
How was I now ever going to do that?
My Neurologist suggested I pick a hobby. I had always wanted to
learn to paint but never found the time with raising my family and
my career which was in the weight loss industry. Now all I had was
When I was first diagnosed, I had huge anxiety issues, which I had never suffered with prior to getting MS. It took me 3 months to walk through the door to my first art class, I was petrified and one of my girlfriends even owned the studio I was booked in to attend!
When I finally walked through the door my whole world just changed. I felt like I could express myself without even talking. My friends and family were giving me wonderful encouragement.
My partner, daughter Ally and I moved to Geelong in December 2011 to be closer to my family to help with support when I was relapsing. Not long after moving here my partner left me and moved back to Perth saying that me having MS would affect his goals and dreams in life. But what about mine?
I was keen to find somewhere to learn more about art and meet like-minded people. I was like a sponge, wanting and needing to find out as much as I could about painting and drawing.
So, I started classes at a Springdale neighbourhood centre and also at Geelong’s MS Australia’s Social Support Day Program each week. I also found a TV program called ‘Colour In Your Life’ on Chanel 31 and I would watch it for hints and tips. It all started to come together. I found myself enjoying what I was creating and shocked myself when I’d complete a painting. I couldn’t believe I had done that. I had dabbled with hobby ceramics 25 years ago and had studied music when leaving high school which was my only previous experience into the art world.
I entered my first exhibition in the Drysdale Rotary Art Show in April 2012 and sold my first painting. I was shocked that someone had thought my art was worthy enough for them to spend their hard-earnt money on and want to hang it on their wall! But they did!
I considered my art to just be a hobby that I dabbled in. I was unaware on how much it was becoming a major part of my life.
In 2013, I applied for a Go for Gold MS scholarship and won $3000 to spend on art supplies. This then enabled me to go to town on buying different mediums in my home studio. I bought inks, watercolours, acrylic paints, graphite, pastels, oil paint, paint brushes, pencils, art paper, canvas and a SLR camera. My house swelled with supplies. I have continued to enter exhibitions such as the State Trustee’s Connected art exhibition, IAN, Zonta, Royal Geelong and Melbourne shows, Rotary Art shows and have had three solo exhibitions at independent galleries. My art has been bought around the world.
My health determines what type of art I can create each day. My vision sometimes is affected so those days I create abstracts, some days I have extreme pain in my hands and I can’t hold a paint brush or pencil so I worked out I can still finger -paint with an impasto acrylic. There isn’t a day
that goes by that I’m not working on my art.
In 2015, I thought it might be a good idea to get some formal qualifications in the art world. I completed a cert 1 in creative industries and started my Cert 3 in visual arts. Unfortunately, my MS decided that wasn’t such a good idea. I missed too many classes with being sick that the college I was at wasn’t understanding in my disability. Then I questioned why did I need a piece of paper to sell my art when I was already doing that? I didn’t, so I left.
In the past 9 years I have won some major awards for my art including:
• Zonta conviction commitment and courage exhibition
• The people’s choice award 4 times at Connected and also last year the Public advocates award,
• The disability services commissioner award at ADEC last year
• And at other exhibitions I’ve placed 1st, 2nd, 3rd, Commended and highly commended in open fine arts against abled body artists.
My Facebook art page, Instagram and website are all branded under the name JUZT art I registered JUZT art as a business and I had the fortune to take over a gallery at Café Zoo in Drysdale and it now is proudly called JUZT art Gallery. I exhibit my work full time as well as newbie artists- giving
them their first breaks into the world of exhibiting.
I am admin on a Facebook page for artists around the world called Get My Art Recognised and has just over 22k members. It's opened up some amazing doors for me. I needed a work space bigger than my kitchen table so I renovated my house and put in a beautiful studio straight off my kitchen, including a Jackson Pollack look floor!
In the past 10 years I’ve been diagnosed with MS, had three Heart surgeries, Pericarditis, Livedo Reticularis, Mixed Cryoglobulinemia, three primary cancers at the same time (Melanoma, Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia and Small Lymphocytic Lymphoma) all scary big words. It comes down to I had three primary cancers, and way too much protein in my blood. I’ve completed Chemotherapy and I’m in full remission from the cancers, though will take my body a lot longer to recover because of the MS, I still have ongoing treatment for maintenance for the cancer and to boost my immune system.
It was a nightmare of a few years, the only thing that kept me sane throughout it was the ability to create in some-way shape or form.
I would take my drawing gear into Chemo day ward and go into my own little world. Doing my art has become my form of meditation. I lose myself in it. I feel equal with my peers of any ability. I donate a lot of my work to charities, it’s my way of giving something back, to be able to contribute and
it feels good to do so.
Now days I am teaching others the wonders of art wellness, with JUZT art Wellness Classes to other disabled people, from my own studio. Helping others achieve their own creative process is very rewarding.
I have extended my business and now offer Resilience Consulting and Speaking. Helping other people overcome adversity and gain resilience in their own lives.
I have recently finished writing and illustrating my first children’s book, in a series of 12. I am a co-author in a book being released at the end of 2021, ‘Release The Shackles’. It will be available for sale through my websites.
A new business launching this year is Van-Go Decals. It is my latest fun, funky, innovative and tongue in cheek decal business idea to spread fun, colour and my wonderfully colourful and creative artwork that will ‘pimp the ride’ of many in the community.
I am aiming that my colourful decals to brighten up the lives of wheelchair users, helping caravan, kombi and RV owners to stand out from the crowd in caravan parks and on the roads across Australia, and any house owner looking for both privacy and a point of difference the innovative application
as one way window designs. The Van-Go Decals are my way of brightening up the world and
diversifying JUZT art into far reaching everyday designs.
Creativity and redesigning the way art is utilised is my thought behind innovation coming to a wheelchair, house, caravan, RV near you. Heck let’s not limit where these fantastic Van-Go Decal could show up. Van-Go Decal coming to wherever you want. To brighten your world!
After I was diagnosed people would ask me what I did for a living, and I would feel shameful to say sorry I don’t work anymore, I’m disabled, I felt like such a burden to society as they would look at me strangely as to how could I be disabled? However now when people ask me, I can now proudly
say “I am a successful business owner, author, resilience consultant, speaker and professional artist” rather than I’m disabled and cannot work anymore I am always busy, one that now has dreams and goals, one that never thought I would have been able to achieve so much in such a short space
But I did, I have and I will continue to do so. I have some big things planned on my bucket list that I want to achieve in the art world and beyond. Watch this space.
Never be afraid to put your dreams into action, you may just surprise yourself what your capable of!