When they were still just teenagers, the boys at their Ottawa family home took to paintball.
“It was just so cool,” says Justin, now 23, a sophomore at the University of Ottawa.
“We loved it and it was really fun.”
Justin and his brother Tyler played paintball at home and at nearby clubs.
“There were people who would be in there, people who were there for fun and people who weren’t,” says Tyler.
“That was kind of what it was.”
When they played at their high school, Justin would go on a shoot and Tyler would take it from there.
Justin says the game was “just a great experience.”
When Tyler was in high school he would get into fights with the other kids.
“I think the main reason we ended up playing paintball was because we were just like brothers,” he says.
“So I guess it just kind of helped us bond and we played it with a lot of pride.”
They started to dabble in their own hobby when they were about 17.
The boys started getting into paintballs at the same time.
“When we were younger we were getting into a lot more competitive things and playing competitively,” Justin says.
But it wasn’t until about two years ago that the brothers started dabbing at the barber shop.
“The first time we got in a fight we got out and we got really into it,” Justin recalls.
“And I was just like, ‘Oh my God, I got in the wrong one.’
And I was like, I’m just going to go home and chill and I’m going to play paintball again.”
It wasn’t long before Justin got a tattoo of a “Lone Wolf” paintball player on his forearm.
Justin got an “X” on his arm, Tyler got a “W” on the forearm and a “D” on both arms.
Justin and Tyler started to play around with the names “Lonesome” and “Wildcat” and started getting in trouble for using the wrong name.
“One time I got really serious and I was trying to figure out who this person is,” Tyler says.
Justin went to the Ottawa Police Service and told them he wanted to be known as the “Wild Cat” or the “Lonnie” because he was the only one of the three brothers who would play paint.
“They didn’t take too kindly to that, so I ended up getting a new tattoo on my forearm and it’s the Wild Cat,” Justin said.
The tattoo, Justin says, was just the “biggest thing that has ever happened to me.”
After a few months of playing paint, Justin went back to school and enrolled in the art department at Carleton University in Ottawa.
He got his BA in visual art and his MA in film studies.
“Art and film studies is what I wanted to do with my life,” Justin adds.
Justin has a degree in film and video and plans to pursue a career in filmmaking.
“In Ottawa, it’s so much more of a visual medium than film,” Justin explains.
“My passion is to be able to make art out of film.”
Justin also plans to start a painting school next year.
“A lot of people don’t get to learn that kind of visual art, and I think it’s really cool to be in a city that has an arts scene,” he said.
“You can just see it from the street, it seems to be so much bigger.”
Justin is now the creative director of a gallery in Ottawa called the Gallery of Imagination.
The gallery is open until May 25.
“This is my outlet to explore and make things that people can’t get into,” he explains.