Artist- Josh Vasquez
Media: Sharpie, Paint, Wood, Paper, Garbage Bags, Flowers
Gallery: Max L. Gatov Gallery West
Josh Vasquez describes himself as a “painter, drawer, and artist from Los Angeles”. His parents hail from El Salvador and support his work. He initially pursued art because he can’t see himself doing anything else. Through art he is able to express himself and that’s what he loves to do the most. Currently he is a 5th year undergraduate at California State University Long Beach under the Painting and Drawing Program. Even though his emphasis is on painting and drawing, he also likes photography. In his current gallery exhibition, he focuses on life and death.
Using the themes of life and death, Josh carefully chose the materials for his artwork. “Short-lived” items like ink and rotting flowers were used in his pieces. More durable materials like plastic garbage bags and paper were used to make a contrast between the media and to emphasize the overall theme of life and death. The gallery didn’t have much variation in color, Josh used only black paint for his pieces and the colors of the flowers were very muted. The lack of color gave the gallery a very dark and mysterious vibe.
Josh wanted to convey the message of life and death for this gallery. He liked the idea of trying to combine two contrasting ideas into a single piece of art. In the pieces he also attempted to mix in other contrasting ideas as well, such as black and white, hard and soft, masculinity and femininity. For his flower piece, he got the idea from the Los Angeles Flower District; he saw the flowers being thrown away and he wanted to reinvent them into something new.
Out of all the exhibits I went to, Josh’s interested me the most. His powerful and well thought out brush strokes in his paintings left a strong impression on me and gave a feeling of “dark beauty” throughout the gallery. Upon hearing Josh talk about his work, I grew more intrigued because of how much thought he put into his pieces from the general concept and down to the materials of the works.