I had the pleasure of meeting Joshua Stewart one evening a few months ago during open studio time at 400 West Rich. Subsequently, saw his art art on the 614 page and then ‘met’ him again when he was the featured artist in the Lounge Gallery on the second floor of 400 West Rich. I just love his comical take on animals and how his art makes me smile. I couldn’t resist and bought one of his prints during this show…framed it and will be taking it to Florida in July to hang in my studio there.
At each meeting, we discussed doing an interview and I am finally getting to it! Enjoy learning more about this young man!
Joshua has a BFA in Illustration from CCAD and focused a lot on Printmaking while there. For 9 years after graduation, he worked in print production while working at a billboard company. after they moved out of state and he lost his job, he had a wake up call (like so many of us!) that he says he definitely needed. At that point, he decided that he really wanted to get back into creating his own art and start making himself happy! From there, he got a job working in the art department at the Columbus Center for Human Services (http://cchsohio.org/). There he found inspiration to begin creating his own art and promoting it.
Little Fish‘s mission statement explains it best!
Little Fish Printing and Gallery serves as an eclectic art venue and custom screen-printing facility, exhibiting original screen-prints, as well as one-of-a-kind works of art created by artists with developmental disabilities. Uniting the artists of Little Fish Studios Columbus and Marysville, Little Fish Printing and Gallery enables artists with disabilities to channel their creativity through uninhibited self-expression, while serving as a stepping stone to promote artistic growth within the art community.
As Print Production Manager/Artist at Little Fish (http://littlefishprintingandgallery.org/), Joshua is responsible for assisting disabled adults to produce their own prints, and market them. Originally, he worked at the Westside program but last year, moved to the new Short North location. His goals are to help his employees turn their prints into fine art pieces that are more marketable and will earn them income and to obtain more grants for this vital non-profit. Their next show will occur in their gallery during the October Short North Gallery Hop. Joshua explains:
We sell t-shirts created by our artists but the custom printing side of things is all done with artwork mostly provided by our clients…. We do a lot of custom work for schools,churches, and other businesses.
The desire to create has been with him since he was very young always wanting to do something with art for a living. He says he never really saw himself in any other profession except for maybe something to do with his other passion: animals! Guess he found that he could combine those two by using animals as the subjects for his art!!
For a long time before accepting what he truly wanted to create, he tried to produce art that fit into popular styles, dark and edgy or super realistic. He truly believes that because he wasn’t true to himself in his art that led to a hiatus in creating. However, once he did accept that creating what makes him happy was the way to go, he got through that block and began making the fun pieces he exhibited at 400.
Inspiration for his pieces comes from nature and color (surprise, surprise!). He loves to draw animals and give them an almost human quality. He also began trying some new techniques working with ceramics and sculpy, even some digital photo manipulation and painting. Believe it or not, painting is something that is relatively new to him. He concentrated on drawing (pen, ink and graphite) rather than painting due to his fear of that medium. Now, however, he has fallen in love with bright acrylic colors…YAY!
During 2015 and 2016, his goal is to become more visible in the Central Ohio art scene and find new ways to promote his own artwork. Up until recently, he has sold most of his artwork online or out of his studio. However, he has begun working on getting himself out there to shows and festivals and exhibiting in other venues that are rather new to him. This year he will be participating in the Independents’ Day celebration in September while continuing to search for other good places to show his work.
Recently, he added a shop on his website where he sells prints of his art. He is also working on expanding that and selling originals and 3-D pieces. Society6 has been one of the sites to feature his work but he’s trying to focus more on his own web store now.
Contact for readers:
Joshua James Stewart
400 West Rich