Culture365 Q & A: Joshua Smith

Submitted by STintern1 on Tue, Apr 12th at 6:58 pm

 

Hi Culture365 members and Spacetaker visitors! This week we are featuring Joshua Smith who, not only is Culture365 member, but also is our next exhibiting artist here at Spacetaker’s ARC Gallery! He will be exhibiting a body of work entitled “Memory Pendingfrom this Saturday, April 16th through Saturday, May 14th.  Join us for a free public opening reception this Saturday, April 16th from 5 – 7 p.m. Joshua Smith, a Houston native, is a painter, photographer, and musician. After spending a number of years focusing on writing, recording, and touring with a Houston instrumental band, Smith graduated with a B.F.A. in Painting from Texas State University. He has shown his work throughout Texas and has collaborated with musicians and independent record labels. Smith spent time in Austin and Dallas before returning to Houston, where he currently lives and works. Visit his website and Spacetaker profile for more information. 

 

Joshua shares with us some of his experiences and knowledge in this week’s special edition Q & A.

 

Q

What is your biggest inspiration as an artist?

A

Inspiration can come from just about anywhere. I’m constantly listening to music for one thing. There’s nothing that can get me excited to work quite like a good record. When I paint I listen to a lot of Talking Heads, Steve Reich, Flying Lotus, Bob Dylan, things like that. I like singers that have really visual lyrics. It gives me things to think about in terms of themes or titles for paintings. 

I’m also a bit of a movie nerd. Before deciding to study art I came really close to applying for film school. Any time I see a film like City of God I feel the need to make something.

 

Q 

Describe your artistic process?

 

A

The process begins with collecting. I work with an ever-growing archive of found and appropriated images. For the paintings, one of the foremost tools I use is a copy machine. Using a copy machine creates a separation between what I can make an image say and what the original intentions of the picture were. Photocopies allow the image to be resized and stripped of all color, forcing various images to be condensed into one family and eventually into one painting. I’m interested in the idea of using a machine of mass-production to help generate handmade art.

 

The new work has a different approach. It involves taking a rotary cutter to old photography books, basically destroying them, photographing them, and reconstructing them with tape. It’s given me two new avenues to go down. Once I get a handle on this new way of working I’ll start using the results as the source material for larger paintings.

 

Q 

What do you feel is unique about your work that sets it apart?

 

A

I place a lot of importance on the narrative in my work. I think what sets my work apart is the place where my thematic interests and the type of imagery I choose to work with meets. There are a lot of very different, very specific elements that go into the work. Once these elements begin to have a successful rhythm together it begins to speak its own language. 



Q 

Who or what has been the most influential to your work?

 

A

Robert Rauschenberg has always been a hero of mine. When I began working with collage I was definitely trying to emulate his work. It helped me understand the possibilities of the medium. It also appealed to my love for found objects. My parents owned an antique store when I was growing up. We spent every summer traveling the country and would stop in small town antique shops, flea markets, and auction houses. It gave me an eye for the unique. As a kid, I decided I would start collecting things from these places to keep myself entertained. Eventually it led to me collecting photos.

 

Q 

Tell us a little bit about your upcoming show here at Spacetaker’s ARC Gallery. What can people expect?

 

A

Memory Pending is an exhibition consisting of mixed media paintings, collages, and photography. It is the culmination of five years of work spanning from my undergraduate studies to my most recent work. Having this stretch of time represented shows an interesting development of ideas in terms of both process and narrative. The narrative explores the manipulation of memory and the role that it plays in shaping public and personal histories. 

 

Q 

We understand that you’re also plugged into the music scene as a musician. What band(s) are you in?

 

A 

I guess the band most people around here would know me from is By the End of Tonight, but it’s been a few years since I played with them. I’ve spent time since recording more than performing. I released a limited edition EP at the end of last year called Still Life Orchestra. Each copy of the EP was completely unique with its own drawings, paintings, prints, and collages. I plan to do similar projects in the future under the name Weather Theft.

 

Q 

Does your music influence your work as a visual artist?

 

A

Yes, I think it does. I tend to move back and forth between the two depending on what seems to be clicking in the moment. I spend a lot of time every night in the studio so if I’m having a hard time getting into a rhythm with one I’ll give the other a shot.

 

Q 

So you’re one of those artists who (gasp) lives OUTSIDE the 610 Loop! Tell us, what’s it like?

 

A

It’s a bit isolating in a way. It’s funny to me because it’s only 15 or 20 minutes to the heights from my place, but for friends that live inside the loop I might as well live in another state. Maybe there’s a space-time-continuum I don’t know about. I don’t get very many studio visits, that’s for sure. 

 

To learn more about Joshua, make sure to visit his website and Spacetaker profile. Also don’t forget to come to the opening reception this Saturday, April 16th from 5 -7 p.m. where you can see his work and meet him in person. Have a great day!

 

 

 

 

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