Artist: Josh Vasquez
Media: Painting, Scuptures
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov Gallery West
Josh Vasquez is an undergraduate student in the painting and drawing program at Cal State Long Beach. He is from Los Angeles and is inspired by everything that is around him in his community. He is passionate about his art and art in general. In this showing he focused on the concepts of life and death, which are very interesting to him.
Josh’s works consists of drawing on plastic trash bags. He uses ink markers to create these haunting images on the transparent canvases. He also uses red rosin paper and paper on wooden panels. The pieces on the floor also use dying flowers upon the paper. By using these materials he creates art that is smooth but also very jagged. The ink drawings on the trash bags are very smooth. Although they show harsh pictures of skulls they are very shaded and contain curves. The actual canvases the drawings are on are very jagged, though. They contrast with the smooth drawings.
The artist really focuses on concepts of life and death. He calls his showing Vida/Morte, vida meaning life and morte meaning death. He states that “these two opposite and simple ideas are what make these drawings possible”. He also explains how he uses flowers and skulls to juxtapose these two heavy concepts. Both symbols represent life and death, as well as femininity and masculinity. Themes such as black and white, and hard and soft can also be found within his art. His materials also have a theme of having a life span. The ink markers will outlive the plastic that they are on and the flowers will not last as long at the paper they sit on. “These separate pieces, although similar, will each have their own lives within time and I also wanted to capture that aspect of life”, Josh Vasquez states. He draws inspiration from famous artists like Vincent Van Gogh, Frida Kahlo, Paul Cezanne, and Georgia O’Keefe. Each of these artists used flowers and skulls to create incredible pieces of art. Josh has to decided to take his mentors art and make them abstract.
I found this showing to be quite beautiful, although it was about a subject that isn’t considered beautiful. I also loved how it was so simple. Most of the pictures were black and white but yet they possessed so much emotion. The way he used the flowers, which are usually beautiful and made them ugly was quite interesting. It was truly a representation to me of life and death. It was also really interesting to know that the canvases were just ordinary trash bags. So often I think of art as being so expensive and that you have to use certain materials to create actual art. It was refreshing to see that art could come from the objects that you use in your everyday life.