Artist: Josh Vasquez
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov Gallery West
About the Artist:
Josh is in the painting and drawing program at CSULB and is currently a 5th year, undergraduate student. He is from Los Angeles, California and his family is very supportive of his passion. Josh is constantly creating. When he’s not at school, he is either painting or working on other projects. He believes that it is important to learn to deal with artist block by channeling any frustrations through different outlets. Whether that is painting, drawing, spray paint, snapchat, tattooing, performing, etc. Josh prefers to use markers and sharpies. I asked if he had ever created art illegally (graffiti) and he replied with “I like it, I’ve never gone out before. Never will.” The last expo he went to was LACMA in LA and his favorite museum is Norton Simon. He is a dog person and replied “no comment” when asked who he would be voting for in the upcoming election.
Josh’s artwork consists of a lot of jagged lines, black lines on white canvas. He enjoys using black sharpies, markers, and spray paint on large scale white canvases. His use of jagged, harsh lines makes me think that when he is working on his pieces and he doesn’t over think each line. He lets the marker take over. His art reminds me a lot of the graffiti I see on my drive to LA up the 710. I like the fact that each line isn’t perfect. If each line was drawn out with concise concentration, it would take away from the theme of life/death. However, the effortless, smooth, movement of some of the lines in his peaces gives a great contrast to the harsh black lines. They compliment one another. Up close, it doesn’t look cohesive. Similar to life. But if you take a step back, the piece comes together in a simplistic, beautiful way. Again, a resemblance of life. Josh had a piece set up on the floor of the gallery, it was an array of dead flowers placed strategically on the floor. There was a dark liquid spill underneath the flowers. It looked as if the flowers had been alive at some point before losing the moisture in their bodies and then was left alone to lay peacefully.
Josh’s gallery was about life and death. I asked if any specific event happened that inspired him to create his pieces around this theme, he replied “no”. I want to say, Josh is an insightful person and likes to experience life from the outskirts. He lives life looking at the bigger picture, rather than focusing on the small details. When talking to him, he seemed like a no bullshit kind of guy, which I appreciate. He was to-the-point and it left a lot of ambiguity for me to find out more about his personality. I felt I learned more about him through his work than talking to him.
When walking into the gallery, I sensed that the artist was going to a person who is apprehensive of fantastical version of life. Similar to myself. I think growing up, we are taught that world is a happy place but I have seen otherwise. I have become apprehensive of everyone I meet because of the mistrust that has grown over the years. I only interact with people who are in my lane. The artist was in my lane, he was a really awesome person to interact with. No bullshit kind of guy, I like that. I haven’t personally experienced pain from death or even the birth of a new born child in my life but the gallery was a great way to see what it may look like through Josh’s eyes.