Justin Duerr

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Justin Duerr
Born 1976
Genres Punk rock, indie rock
Occupation(s) Musician, artist, songwriter
Instruments Drums, percussion, vocals, guitar
Years active 1994–present
Associated acts Eulogy, Northern Liberties, The Vivian Girls Experience, Erode and Disappear

Justin Duerr (born 1976, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, United States) is an American artist, musician, and writer. A fixture of both the underground punk rock and outsider art scenes in Philadelphia for decades,[1] Duerr is best known for his research into the Toynbee tile phenomenon as depicted in the 2011 documentary film Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles. His musical and artistic output includes albums with various groups and numerous art works.[2][3]


The younger of two brothers, Duerr was raised in rural Adams County, Pennsylvania, in a barn partially built by his parents. His early interests included pigeon rearing and art. In 1994, he fled rebelliously to Philadelphia and became involved in the local punk squatting scene.[3]

Following his move to Philadelphia, Duerr began publishing his zine Decades of Confusion Feed the Insect, featuring his poetry, essays, and drawings.[4][5][6] He established himself as a visual artist, developing a trademark style on highly detailed black and white posters drawn with Sharpies.[7][8][9][10][11][12] He also began his long-standing interest in the unexplained Toynbee tile phenomenon at this time.[3]

Duerr's earliest Philadelphia-based musical groups included Eulogy, Aviary 3, and One Rat Brain. Beginning in 2000, he formed the punk group Northern Liberties with his brother Marc Duerr and long-time friend Kevin Riley; the group has released numerous albums and toured extensively since.[13][14] Other projects followed thereafter, including the Vivian Girls Experience with fellow artist Enid Crow, Kat Klix, and Erode and Disappear.[15][16]

Filmmaker Jon Foy began documenting Duerr's research into the Toynbee tile phenomenon in 2005.[17] The resultant feature, Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles, was selected for the 2011 Sundance Film Festival in the U.S. Documentary category, and won the category's Directing Award.[18] It was released theatrically by Focus Features the following year.


  1. ^ Kroll, Yoni. "Duerr-onomy: The World According to Justin," Abinka.com, September 2003.
  2. ^ "Not Quite 20 Questions with Justin Duerr". Circleintosquare.com. Retrieved September 11, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles. Film. Dir: Jon Foy. Focus Features, 2011
  4. ^ Fertig, Tami. "Thinking Outside the Book :: Cover Story :: Article :: Philadelphia City Paper". Archives.citypaper.net. Retrieved 2012-07-29. 
  5. ^ Lloyd, John. "Not Your Routine Zine Scene," P.A.W. Print, August 2004.
  6. ^ "/WUVT-FM 90.7/ - An Interview with Justin Duerr of Northern Liberties". Wuvt.vt.edu. Retrieved 2012-07-29. 
  7. ^ Zheng, Lin (2011-11-10). "Arts Top 5: Best of Philly Zine | 34th Street Magazine". 34st.com. Retrieved 2012-07-29. 
  8. ^ Rapa, Patrick. "Fit To Print". Archives.citypaper.net. Retrieved 2012-07-29. 
  9. ^ "Extended Interview with Justin Duerr". WHYY.org. Retrieved 2013-10-27. 
  10. ^ Rochester, Katherine (2012-04-11). "You'll Need a Magnifying Glass for "Stranger Things Have Happened" at Gallery 309". Philadelphia Weekly. Retrieved 2013-10-27. 
  11. ^ Schwartz, Chip (2012-09-02). "Justin Duerr unfurls his tale for open studios at Traction Company". Knight Arts. Retrieved 2013-10-27. 
  12. ^ Karas, Katie (2009-03-04). "visual art: Song-Story Images". Philadelphia City Paper. Retrieved 2013-11-09. 
  13. ^ Amorosi, A.D. (2006-03-02). "Taking Liberties - In the cave with Philly's rock extremists.". Philadelphia City Paper. Retrieved 2013-10-27. 
  14. ^ Wallen, Doug (2008-01-16). "Live Music: Northern Liberties". Philadelphia Weekly. Retrieved 2013-10-27. 
  15. ^ "suckers and biters". suckers and biters. Retrieved 2012-07-29. 
  16. ^ "Bad Subjects: Dawn of Decades". Bad.eserver.org. 2001-11-15. Retrieved 2012-07-29. 
  17. ^ Rose, Joel (September 23, 2006). "Toynbee Tiles Mystery Resurrected in Philly". NPR. Retrieved September 11, 2013. 
  18. ^ Dec 01, 2010 at 11:12 am. (2010-12-01). "2011 Sundance Film Festival Announces Films in Competition | Sundance Film Festival". Sundance.org. Retrieved 2012-07-29. 

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