This past Sunday, Jeff McMillan posted up an interview with Benjamin Marra as part of a new interview series here on SLAMXHYPE. We aim to do these interviews with artists, designers, store buyers, boutique owners, musicians and pretty much anybody that we find interesting.
The interviews will be posted on Sundays and Thursdays as a featured story here, so be sure to check them out on the reg. This is one I just conducted with Joshua Petker. As you know, we are real fans of Joshua’s work, so it was a must to get him in the mix. Enjoy!
SXH: Where are you from and what can you tell us about your hometown?
Joshua: I was born in Van Nuys, CA but now reside in Silver Lake, CA – a neighborhood just east of Hollywood and just west of downtown Los Angeles. It is known as a liberal/hipster/artist neighborhood and it is exactly that. The Silversun Pickups were named after our corner liquor store, Beck lives here (i think), lots of art galleries and cool places to get a drink, etc. It’s a really pretty part of LA with a lot of trees, an actual lake people jog around, and every kind of food you could want. I love it here.
SXH: As a kid, what did you want to be growing up?
Joshua: I wanted to be the lead signer of a famous, rebellious, revolutionary rock n’ roll band. But, it turns out I’m too shy.
SXH: Who or what do you look at for inspiration?
Joshua: I look to other artists I guess. I love the act of painting but I also love art history. I read a lot of art books, contemporary art journals, blogs etc. I love fashion and constantly look to fashion magazines for ideas as well. Music can also be really inspirational to me depending on the day. But, most often it is when I find a work or an artist that moves me positively (or negatively) in which I get really fired up to make a response in my own work – even though I realize it is a one sided conversation. I’m really interested in other artists and art history over all.
SXH: Where’s your studio?
Joshua: Right here in Silver Lake, California.
SXH: Describe a typical work day:
Joshua: I wake up around 11am. Usually drink coffee and mess around online for a few hours reading blogs, posting nonsense on twitter, and answering emails. I visit friends, go see art shows around town, or draw and research a lot during the day. I tend to feel the best when I paint in the evening so I don’t usually start working really seriously until about 9pm. I then paint until 3 to 4am depending. And then happily rinse and repeat.
SXH: What materials do you usual work in?
Joshua: Up until now I’ve worked exclusively in acrylics and ink. I’ve been trying lots of new mediums these days though. I’ve been water coloring which is really fun. And, I just learned there is such a thing as water soluble oil paint and have been working with that too. I’m not used to the time it takes for oils to dry yet.
SXH: What is your all time favorite painting?
Joshua: That’s almost impossible to answer?! But, the first painting that came to mind and that means a lot to me is Van Gogh’s ‘Wheatfield with Crows’. Well before the abstract expressionists Van Gogh was able to communicate content without it relating to the subject in the painting. His thick emotional and active brushstrokes move me like almost no other artist. And, that painting with its light, bright, beautiful yellow bottom half and the dark heavy blue and black top half, broken in the middle by a jagged road to nowhere is just so serenely calming yet it screams the weight of the world at you as the birds fly up into darkness. It was the last painting he ever made and it speaks so clearly to me about the wonderful beautiful pain that life can be for some. I wouldn’t mind looking at that painting every night before bed.
SXH: What do you you do when you’re not making art?
Joshua: Well, basically I just talk about art then haha. I read a lot and enjoy debating and discussing art and politics with friends. I drink a lot of wine. Actually, I’m pretty much the stereotypical Californian bohemian drinking wine, talking shit, and painting under the moonlight.
I’m also really interested in fashion. I do not want to be a designer myself but I really enjoy fashion. I have recently been collaborating with designer extraordinaire, Jared Gold on a line of women’s clothing to be released as early as next month. This clothing line has been a fun new project for me and I have been working with an amazing team of talent on the line. I cannot wait for the clothes to come out.
SXH: Is there any Artist or Illustrator you would like to have a collaboration with?
Joshua: No, I don’t really enjoy collaborating. I have made a handful of paintings with the talented Sylvia Ji and those were fun but over all it’s not for me. I would love to have 2 person shows with a whole bunch of different artists whose work I adore and respect and who I’d love to discuss a show with but, that’s mostly fantasy.
SXH: What are you working on now and what’s in the future for you?
Joshua: I’m taking some serious time off from showing my paintings in order to work on my art more completely for awhile. I look forward to coming back out next year with an amazing and new body of work. My next showing will take place April 2010 here in Los Angeles at the Corey Helford Gallery. Up until my show in April 2010 I plan on celebrating the release of my Jared Gold clothing line and to juggle as many portrait commissions as I can handle at a time. I love painting portraits and do a lot of commissions.
SXH: Important non related question here: Sabbath or Zepplin?
Joshua: Definitely Sabbath
SXH: Coffee or tea?
Joshua: Hard for me. But, I have to say tea.
SXH: Music, talk radio, books on tape or golden silence?
Joshua: All of the above? I’m a gemini and go through moods. Lots of books on tape (or audiobooks) and lots of music. It’s hard for me to deal with golden silence (always have a fan on at least) but when I am in silence I do make some of my best art. I should force myself to work that way more often.
Thanks for wanting to interview me!!
SXH: Our pleasure!