Josh is an Illustrator and visual artist from county Antrim in Northern Ireland. Josh graduated from Graphic Design and Illustration in July 2018. His work was chosen by the Royal Ulster Academy of Arts for the 137th annual exhibition in the Ulster Museum which ran from October to January 2019.
Taking inspiration from the environment and nature and growing up around the north-coast of Northern Ireland Joshua explains that it’s hard not to be influenced by the beautiful scenery it has to offer. From the Giant’s Causeway to the Mourne mountains he’s there on-location reporting the scenes.
We are (young creatives) working towards a better world for our future and I believe one of the best ways to do this is through creative power. I want my work to be a catalyst for various cultural, political, social and environmental issues, creating awareness for global warming, mental health, LGBTQ, and wildlife, to name a few. I am incredibly lucky that we as artist’s can facilitate and explore these themes in the 21st century.
What are you currently reading, listening to, looking at or watching to inspire your work?
Currently, I’m reading and listening to a lot of material about climate change, in particular, the effects it has on arctic wildlife. A regular listen of mine is a Spotify podcast, ‘A Sustainable Mind’. A fruitful discussion for the earth-conscious individual. Also, I am constantly looking at what other illustrators and artists are producing and working on. It’s helpful to see what kind of work is circulating for what type of organisations. Additionally, while also doing my own research and reading on the subject, recently I have linked up with a law student to deepen my knowledge about environmental and animal rights. I’m hoping this inspires new directions in my work.
You have the opportunity to draw just once, what do you draw?
Just once? Everything. I’d let my natural impulses take over and draw for the sake of drawing. I think that would be the roundest use of that single drawing opportunity.
Is there a message you aim to convey through your work?
I feel there isn’t one single outstanding message in each of my works, however, I want my work to act as a catalyst for awareness, concerning various important cultural, environmental, societal and political issues. I want people, especially young people to know and change the world for the better and I feel my practice can not only help in doing that but also help in educating them.
Is there anything you find difficult about creating a piece, if so, how do you overcome it?
Over-working a project/illustration, I’ve always struggled with this. Knowing when to stop comes with experience and learning from each project. So, I think as I establish myself and my practice this part of creating a piece will become easier. But more immediately, to overcome this I usually share the project with other people and have a discussion. A fresh pair of eyes is always beneficial. This opens up new lines of inquiry and questions that challenge the project in its current state.
Explain a bit about the piece you have created to help us raise further awareness of mental health
These illustrated heads are an abstract representation of the complexity of mental health. I intended, through my expressive mark making, to bring across the multiple processes that simultaneously work together inside the head and body. The texture, form, structure, colour and tone of the final product was as spontaneous and natural as the experience we have with our mental state. The majority of us have a mental health journey, and we are similar because of it, however we all are different in how we manage and deal with our journey.