Wk 3- Artist Conversation- Josh Vasquez

Artist: Josh Vasquez

Exhibition: Vida/Morte

Media: Drawing and Painting

Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov Gallery West

Website: joshvasquez.com

Instagram: joshybehr

Josh Vasquez is an undergraduate student at CSULB. He is in the School of Art, drawing and paining program. He is from downtown LA and has been painting since he was a kid, but started taking art seriously about 2 years ago. The name of his exhibition, vida means life and morte means death is his inspiration for his work. He focuses on flowers and skulls to be the subjects for most of his pieces. Both these elements of life and death, flowers and skulls explore opposites. Which is a repeating element in his work, such as the black and white colors, or masculinity and femininity. His two favorite pieces out of his exhibition were the cow skull and the human skull.

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The artwork I chose to analysis is shown in the picture above with the artist. When I first looked at it my thought was that it has a lot of movement. The swirling that started at the bottom right is what drew my eyes when I first saw it. The lines have a lot of of movement, flow, rhythm and more circular on the top layer, whereas the bottom layer has more lines that are straight, kind of going everywhere, and horizontal. I could tell he used some kind of painting as a medium, and the black and white colors showed opposites. By looking at all the other painting, I could tell those colors were a repeated element throughout his work.

The idea of the artwork was his abstract interpretation of a rose and a skull. The swirling part in the bottom right represents the rose, and the bigger picture in the background represents the skull. The medium the artist used was a mixture of spray paint, sharpie, and a plastic trash bag. While painting this specific piece he was in a meditative state, yet he was also frustrated, but he focused on his work rather than the frustration. He chose the colors black and white because they show two things being what they are, separate ideas. This goes back to his theme of life and death, the rose being life and skull being death. His overall idea he wanted viewers to take away from his work is the tension created from opposite ideas.

The overall exhibition is interesting, after he talked about his idea and the deeper look at the artwork, I could see what he was trying to show through his work. I could see the opposites of not just black and white, but the importance of opposites. Everything has an opposite, he focused on life and death by symbolizing it with flowers and skulls. Even though they are opposites, they can come together and make interesting and nice artwork. In my Asian Studies class last semester, we learned about yin and yang, one concept was that we need opposites in order for life to be balanced. I think this exhibition shows exactly that.

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