Week 3 -Artist Conversation – Josh Vasquez

Artist Info

Artist: Josh Vasquez
Exhibition: Vida/Morte
Media: Plastic, wood, paper
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov Gallery West
Website: joshvasquez.com
Instagram: joshybehr

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Vida/Morte

Josh is an undergraduate student at California State Long Beach. He is in the BFA Painting and Drawing Program as the CSULB School of Art. Mr. Vasquez grew up in downtown LA  and started painting and drawing at a young age. Josh as always been into art and says that art is the only thing he is really interested in.

Josh’s work took shape in a few different forms. Two giant pieces immediately stood out as you entered the exhibit. These pieces both contained a huge rectangle of paper, with abstract lines and blotches over them. One of them was hung up on the wall and the other, spread on the floor. The one on the floor also had hundreds of flowers laid upon it in various stages of decay. Along the other walls lined a few different pieces. These pieces consisted of clear plastic trash bags and paper mounted on wood panels and drawn upon with black ink markers. The trash bags gave each of the pieces a transparent look in some areas, while the paper made it opaque in others. These plastic/paper pieces all had the same shape of a vertical rectangle. The black drawings of skulls provided heavy contrast between the white paper and plastic.

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Drawings on clear plastic trash bags and paper mounted on wood panels.

Josh’s art explored the idea of life and death, hence the name Vida/Morte. In his artist statement, Josh says he “wanted to relate the materials of the artwork to the overall theme. [He] chose to think of the pieces as having a life span. Each of the materials having their own end.” He then goes on to talk about how the ink and paint will not last as long as the plastic and the flowers will not last as long as the papers they are on. I think he does a very good job of expressing this theme through his work.

I really enjoyed Josh’s show. I think the artwork on the wall was very cool to look at. The concept of transparent plastic/opaque paper contrasting with the black ink was something I have never really seen before. In English courses we have talked a lot about different archetypes e.g. life vs death, light vs dark. I like how the artist used black and white exclusively in these pieces as it really drives home the point of life and death. I found the flowers spread out on the paper on the ground to be intriguing as well. It made me think of our Snapchat art experience with ephemeral art as this is not something that will last after the show is over. The flowers will just become dead and smelly and the piece would have to be completely deconstructed to move. All things said, I think this was a great show and something I thoroughly enjoyed.

 

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“And the flowers will not survive as long as the paper beneath them.” Josh Vasquez 
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