Southern Artist Spotlight: Josh Brown
I am excited to introduce you to a young and talented gent. Josh Brown is a friend of my niece’s from high school in Charlotte. I came across his work when taking my children to get frozen yogurt one day at Shain Gallery. They had a painting of funny zebras in the window. All three children were stopped in their tracks begging to go in and get the painting. We continued on our day and they continued to discuss the expression in the painting. Their were 3 zebras in this particular painting. They each claimed one as themselves. It had captured them just as art should. As a lover of art and an art history major, nothing could make me happier than to have them recognize art and appreciate it.
A few days later, I called to find out the painting had sold. It was by a young Myers Park High School grad who was now at SCAD. I year later a similar painting arrived and Gabrielle Shain called to let me know. I bought it as a surprise for my children. The girls have fought over who gets it in their room to the point that both girls cannot agree and it has been placed in the kitchen. It is such a happy thing to see daily. It makes us smile.
Without further adieu, I am pleased to introduce you to the young artist.
Charlotte, NC and Savannah, GA
What is your training?
I am studying industrial design at SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design). I have sketched for as long as I can remember. While in high school I took every AP art class available and earned numerous scholastic awards. After entering SCAD my enthusiasm for drawing and painting really took off. The sketching and painting classes that I have taken so far have tested my abilities and improved my observational skills by leaps and bounds. You draw what you see. I see so much more than I used to, and will see so much more in the future.
What inspires you and your designs?
I am inspired by the relationship between a subject in the painting and its viewer. I experiment with the humorous expressions of animals, and with how a limited amount of information on a canvas may lend to a vast library of responses by the viewer. My work with limited information is most prominent in my ostrich pieces. In the end I want my images to bring a smile to the face of the viewer.
I have two favorites! I painted the donkey (Orange Donkey, 10”x10” acrylic) for my mom on Mothers Day (it was also the first humorous animal piece).
The second painting is my favorite Ostrich painting (Five Yellow Ostrich, 36”x36” acrylic). After finishing this painting I realized that I could make a career out of my work.
How has the south influenced your work?
The South has influenced me with its people. Always friendly, the people of the South gladly welcome you with a lovely smile. I want my work to be as inviting and friendly as the people from the south.
What is your favorite restaurant in (your city)?
While in Charlotte, one of my favorite restaurants is The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar.
My favorite restaurant in Savannah is a small Thai street food restaurant called Fire. They make an excellent curry and the Savannah sushi roll is great too! I really enjoy cooking, so the vast majority of my meals are prepared at home.
I just turned 21 in March, so I have yet to discover a favorite cocktail. I had a Mojito on my birthday, so I’ll stick with that for now. As the goalkeeper for the SCAD soccer team it is my job to stay as fit and healthy as possible, so I don’t drink anything except water and the occasional sports drink for the majority of the year.
How do you balance personal life and work?
I deal with the relationship between my personal life and work very well. As a full-time student, athlete and artist, sleep is very limited. I spend my time practicing with the SCAD soccer team, studying and sketching in coffee shops, designing products in the computer labs, and workshops at Gulfstream (SCADs industrial design building, which never sleeps) and painting at Alexander Hall (SCADs painting building), or more frequently painting at my girlfriends place. When I am not painting or designing, I am most likely training with the SCAD soccer team, working on my fitness or on the road for a season game. Fortunately, I can spend a lot of my time with my girlfriend while I work. We keep each other from going insane as sleep becomes limited throughout the quarter at SCAD.
As a military brat have been fortunate enough to move all over the US. I was born in Karlsruhe, Germany, and then I moved twice in Colorado, Minnesota, Georgia, New Mexico, North Carolina and now Savannah. I have seen plenty of the US. Now it’s time to go abroad. My dream trip would be to spend a few months backpacking through Europe with my girlfriend. I am planning a trip for the summer after my senior year at SCAD. I would rather go on an unplanned adventure than have my day-to-day set.
My dream commission would be big! I love working at a large scale, and I love making something unexpected. I would gladly accept just about any painting commission. I see every commission as an opportunity to improve my ability to achieve and exceed the expectations of a client.
So my dream commission at the moment wouldn’t be a painting at all, it would be a large scale public sculpture, similar in size to Chas Fagan’s Captain Jack (The Spirit of Mecklenburg) in uptown Charlotte off of Fourth Street. I love creating something with dimension, which is why I try to create a sense of texture and volume in my paintings. Sculpture looks like the next big step.
I like to bring a nice bottle of wine, or if I have enough time, I make a batch of spicy, candied pecans.
Who is your style icon?
I wouldn’t say that I necessarily have a style icon.
Madame X by John Singer Sargent
Impression Sunrise by Claude Monet
And most influential are my SCAD friends from all around the world.
I really enjoy the work of established artist Nielly Francoise and conceptual artist Neville Page. I am always on the lookout for great new designers at SCAD as well. I’m excited to see to soon-to-be successes of my classmates
What is your most treasured possession?
I cherish my relationships with the people around me more than any material objects. There isn’t an item I posses that would crush me if it were lost.
I’m reading The Shack by William P. Young right now, but with my busy school, fitness and painting routine I find little time to read at the moment. I love reading, and hope to find time to read more soon!
What are you listening to?
I go through phases. One month I’m listening to classic rock and the next month I’m playing Dave Mathews, Techno, Indie, or my friends Spanish pop and rap CD he made for me. Most recently I’ve really enjoyed Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and the like.
My favorite design site is thecoolhunter.net.
I also enjoy checking on my friends and teammates arttraffic.co.uk. I pay a lot of attention to architecture, interior design, product design, and a bit of photography. I try my best to understand the environment that my paintings may inhabit. Luckily I work in such a rich environment at SCAD. My friends and professors are constantly posting new finds on Facebook or discussing new ideas in and out of class.
I hope you have enjoyed getting to know Josh as much as I have.