Joshua Petker

3 Jan

Location: Los Angeles, CA


Describe your “Creative Space”

My Creative Space is not nearly big enough for the work I have been producing. I hope to move to a larger one this year. But, I have created two solo shows in my current studio and I do love it here..

What is your normal day like ?

I work like most people do. I get up early, have coffee and a bagel, and stay in my studio most of the day. I often return at night and do different work than what I did during the daylight hours. And, one day a week I take off to go see museums and galleries.

What materials do you work in?

Thus far in my career I have worked in Acrylics and Inks. I am now incorporating Oils into the mix and am thrilled with the effect.

You grew up writing graffiti, how did that lead you to the fine art style you have now?

When I was interested in graffiti I was primarily interested in vandalism. I wasn’t out painting women or hip hop characters between pieces. I was interested in bombing and painting trains. It was an active hobby and I loved it.¬† I got the opportunity to travel to Florence, Italy during my last year of college under the guise of taking a few art classes there. I knew some Florentine graffiti writers through mutual friends so figured I’d go out and attend some drawing classes for school credit and paint trains by night. And, I did just that. But, to my surprise, my interest in drawing and painting and Art History overtook me and my interest in graffiti. And, when I returned to the States I was much more interested in making works of art rather than painting graffiti. I don’t look down on graffiti as something you ‘grow out of’ but, for me, it proved to be the door to a different kind of passion for art.

How do you concept your work? Do you start with a sketch, or just start with a blank canvas?

My work is not ever planned in advance. I do draw and get ideas from my drawings but I approach the canvas very loosely. I do start with a sketch but it usually just that of a face. All of the rest comes out during the process of painting.

Do you listen to music while you paint?

Not so much. I used to. I find it distracting these days. I often opt for silence. But, if not silence, either Classical music or Audiobooks do the job for me.

How much time do you spend on a single painting?

It really varies. In some cases I can complete a work in one day. I’ve also worked on paintings for over a year. I work on many different canvases at a time so find myself picking up and putting down all the time.

After spending so much time on a painting, when do you know its done?

It’s really something the artist has to know for themselves. There are times when a painting is done sooner than I’d like and I have to fight the urge not to pick up a brush and keep messing with it. Other times the work never feels complete and I consistently want to spend months with it re-working the surfaces.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned being an artist?

That it is very hard work. It is not always rewarding. But, the only thing I feel really good at is making art. I am an artist.

What are you working on now?

I have some exciting showings coming up in 2011 and 2012. I’m mostly taking off 2011 to paint for shows in 2012 but will be popping up a few times in 2011


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