Born in Chicago, Illinois in 1952, Gustin developed an interest in ceramics as a child growing up around his family’s ceramic manufacturing companies in Southern California. At the age of eighteen, Gustin spent two years helping run the family business at Wildwood Ceramics. From there, he earned his B.F.A. in ceramics from Kansas City Art Institute in 1975 and his M.F.A. at the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University in 1977. Gustin taught ceramics until his retirement in 1999, during which time he also co-found the artist residency at Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts in Newcastle, Maine and established the Gustin Ceramics Tile Production company.