Today we’d like to introduce you to Josh Watson.
Josh, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I started painting murals in Dallas at the age of 15. My mom put me in the Mural Art Program to keep me out of trouble. This program was sponsored through the Dallas Museum of Art. From there, I painted several murals throughout The Bishop Arts District. Within two years, I became an apprentice and was given more responsibilities on projects.
After the program ended, I began doing commissioned work for different people. I attended the University of Texas in Arlington and received a B.S. in Kinesiology. It was a little difficult to paint so I focused more on my career and instead made art a hobby.
In 2016, I decided to take art seriously once again and studied art in Florence, Italy. I attended SACI for a year and was able to fully devote myself to artwork. I studied fine arts in a post-baccalaureate program. While there, they were able to help me better understand art while expressing myself and my beliefs. Since graduating, the demand for my commissioned artwork has skyrocketed.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
One of the struggles I had while in Italy was due to the cultural shock from Americans who were less receptive of my artwork. My artwork has always been controversial being from the perspective of a poor, black male. A lot of students were uncomfortable with the themes conveyed through my paintings.
Being an artist, the biggest reward I get is being able to express myself, the freedom to create my ideas, and pursuing my passion of art. This is hard to do with the clients’ opinions, social norms, and doubting yourself. Accepting yourself and then displaying your emotions, convictions, beliefs, and ideas is a difficult thing to do. You will be judged and there is always room for misinterpretation. This can also be a beautiful thing. Art is freedom which is why it is so perfect. It can be wrong, obscured, illegal, provoking, or incorrect, yet it is still beautiful. The beauty in human beings is imperfection and you can definitely see that in art.
Tell us more about your art.
I am known for large-scale monochromatic paintings made out of primer, charcoal, and sometimes acrylic. My paintings look more like large sketches as opposed to paintings. Many of my clients like my monochromatic style, however, they know if it is photorealism, abstract, etc… I am able to do it.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
John Taylor was my mentor in Florence. He fought with me, argued with me, and never gave up on me throughout the whole year.
Lina Bessonova, the best photographer in Florence. She took pictures of my artwork for me. You can find her work on Instagram @linabessonova.photography
Eva Garis, a fellow artist, who always has an opinion. You can find her work on Instagram @garisgallery
Amisha Atchison sells my paintings at my art shows. She also puts up with my artist’s personality.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @jbig_boss