Justin Hoekstra was born in 1980 on election day and raised in the southern and the western suburbs of Chicago mostly apart from a couple/few years in Minneapolis. His family moved a handful of times between his 4th and 8th birthday. After leaving high school early to take college classes at the College of DuPage in Illinois he became an AmeriCorps Member and worked for the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago as a CPR/First Aid and HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention instructor. During that year that he also worked on weekends at a Salvation Army day shelter, he resigned from the AmeriCorps after 9 months. Then he worked in a cafe at a spa across the street from the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. He enrolled at the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC) the same year where he studied theater. While at UIC he worked as a bike messenger. Justin dropped out after two years at UIC and moved back to the suburbs. After a period in the suburbs working and living with his parents he went to Burlington, Vermont to visit his older brother and decided to stay. He worked in a delicatessen, as a cook (briefly), and did construction along with other odd jobs. He enrolled at the Community College of Vermont and subsequently transferred to the University of Vermont to study art. He graduated from the University of Vermont in 2012 and relocated to Baltimore, Maryland in August to pursue an MFA in painting at the Maryland Institute College of Art which he received in 2014. His interest in art was ignited early in life by experiences at museums throughout Chicago and nurtured though private study with a woman named Barbara Dydacki who kept cages and cages of doves in the kitchen of her house. She made pan fried duck breast one time in front of the doves and let him try some which he thinks is kinda funny. He has had numerous solo exhibitions and been included in various group exhibitions as well. His work is held in both public and private collections.