Recently I had the amazing opportunity to interview Artist Josh Brown. I’ve seen several of his shows at the Shain Gallery, so I was beyond excited to get a chance to ask the artist all the questions I’ve had since first seeing his work.
Here is a short bio on Josh…
A Charlotte local, Josh Brown is an emerging fine artist and industrial designer who creates bold paintings capturing the personalities of animals in oil and acrylic. Josh has had a lifetime interest in animals and enjoys bringing the personalities of each animal to life in a very graphic way. His bold minimalist painting style and graceful figural sculptures capture the energy and attitude of his subjects creating joy, expressive personalities and curiously subtle movement. Josh does this deftly with sculptural brush strokes and refined palette knife. Along with his passion for painting, he also has a love of sculpture, creating dynamic figural works in bronze. In the past few months, Josh graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design, got married and is now working out of his new studio residence in Chicago, IL. The work of Josh Brown is designed to inspire us to live in goodwill and humor, and enjoy art and life.
When did you first become interested in being an artist?
I’ve always had a passion for art and drawing. As far back as I can remember I’ve always had a sketchbook. I remember my mom scrambling to find a pen and paper whenever she needed me to be quiet while we went to any event, and I haven’t stopped doodling and sketching.
It wasn’t up until my freshman year at SCAD (the Savannah College of Art and Design) that I realized that art could be much more, that I could make a living as an artist. At the time I was very much into athletics playing goalkeeper for the SCAD soccer team on full-scholarship.
I started selling my first artworks to friends and family. They would pay for materials and I would make anything they would like. It made me really happy to create art for people, so I started to seek out art commissions. This lead into making art for a Charlotte psychology firm that my brother worked at until I was approached by Gaby Shain at the Shain Gallery. She was a bit skeptical of my style but willing to try out a new young artist. I sold my first gallery work on my second day in the Shain Gallery about three summers ago. I will always be grateful for Gaby’s kindness. From that moment on I’ve been producing art professionally.
What drew you to painting animals?
I’ve always loved animals, and have had many interesting pets from your typical dogs, to poison dart frogs and panther chameleons. I wanted to be a zoologist for the longest time before athletics kicked in. My love of animals has always been with me and it will never go away. More recently I took a trip to Switzerland with my lovely new wife for our honeymoon. I think the most excited I had been throughout our entire six-week trip was finding all of the Swiss cows! There were so many wonderful and comical cows I couldn’t contain my excitement. During the same trip, we missed our train down the mountain and had to walk 15 miles down train tracks (after we had already hiked 15 miles). It would have been a miserable track, but we had new cow encounters (our “cow-counters”) the whole way down making the track much more pleasant. So I guess to put it lightly I love animals and feel like they can make days brighter and make anyone at least a little bit happier.
What is your preferred medium, oil or acrylic?
I love painting in both mediums, but I’ve been painting in acrylic much more frequently. I’ve also started dabbling in encaustic.
Where do you find yourself the most inspired?
I find myself most inspired when I travel. Usually, while I’m on the train, plane, car, or walking. When I’m at a destination I try my best to take in the moment and I don’t think about the art I’m going to create as much. I’ve found a great deal of animal inspiration while in Europe. I’ve met cows in the Swiss alps, llamas, and sheep in the Swiss villages, goats in the parks of Paris, and a couple of swan in the Versailles lake to name a few.
Then, while I am moving from one place to the next I’m filled with ideas. I have lists and lists of future paintings, sculptures, and other creations from my travels. It’s a never-ending battle against time for me. There never seems to be enough time to catch up with the art that needs to be made.
Of course, I love going to museums and galleries wherever I may be to find inspiration from another artist too! I’m currently in love with the work of contemporary abstract expressionist artist Goeffrey Johnson, and realist Michael Carson, Casey Baugh, and Malcom T. Lipke.
Do you have a favorite piece out of all the pieces you’ve painted?
I have many favorites including my first piece sold, a small donkey on orange, a large group of horses, and a recent acrylic with encaustic with donkeys.
When you paint, do you set up a display, paint from a photograph, or just what comes to you?
I usually either paint from a photograph, or from what comes to me. When I do decide to use photographs I use photos that either myself, family, or friends have taken.