Week 4 – Artist Conversation – Josh Vasquez

Artist: Josh Vasquez

Exhibition: I Love The Way You Fall Asleep

Media: oil on canvas

Gallery: Gatov East

Website: bitly.com/ILTWYFA

Instagram: @joshybehr

About the Artist

Josh Vasquez grew up in downtown Pico where he grew up seeing the urban environment and graffiti everywhere around him. Although he grew up in an area where the odds were stacked against him, he didn’t grow up to be a graffiti artist, and he wouldn’t consider himself to be one either. He says that his art takes on this graffiti essence because he grew up seeing it, he learned the tricks and style at a young age and it became a hobby of his to do that type of style.

Vasquez is a student at CSULB’s School of Drawing and Painting. When I asked him about CSULB’s influence in him and his work he says

“It’s what made me. 
Its one of the best 
schools on the west coast.”

Formal Analysis

img_5785Josh Vasquez is not a graffiti artist, and you can tell by his work. He was however, influenced by graffiti techniques when doing this gallery. His art is mostly oil on canvas, as that is his preferred medium, but he implies different techniques than that of what any other artist would use.

His works of art often display color in linear models, well blended, and flowing cohesively in one single way. It is very clean and moving to watch, and there is something almost air and atmospheric to the way he paints.

Most of his work is in pieces. Two or three canvases that all make one piece and tell one big picture.

“I wanted to make bigger art, 
but I didn’t exactly want to make 
it bigger.”

It seems as if he really does make his art bigger without it having to be so grand in size because he limits himself to take a better advantage of the space his art is occupying.

Content Analysis

Vasquez’s biggest influence in particular however was his writing. Vasquez likes to write poems as a way of capturing what he’s feeling and how he would describe things.

When he was in the process of producing this gallery, it took him 2 weeks of studying the colors he wanted to use, but it took him 2 months to actually sketch out and do the paintings. While he did that however, he traveled to different areas of Los Angeles to write about the different sunsets he was seeing. His writings consisted of one line poems made to this “lady” he describe with a sunset. It is here where he got the title for the gallery, “I Love The Way You Fall Asleep.”

While all the paintings are of sunsets, Vasquez makes great use of that single statement to unify his art solidly through and through. Look at this piece for example,

Vasquez uses all blue on one canvas and the other is brilliant with the contrasting colors. At first I thought they were two different pieces, conveniently placed to close together, but if you look at the way they’re painted, you can see that they are one work of art. The top piece has one white line capping it from going any farther up, and the lower piece has a bottom white line encasing the two pieces so the colors don’t drop down even farther. The white lines are present in most of Vasquez’s works where the art stops, that is to say the he uses these white lines to frame his work. But thats not all, the use of color goes from dark to light, and its not coincidence that the bottom blue in the top piece is the same blue from the lower piece. These two art pieces go together to make bigger picture.

My Experience

img_5786To be honest, I walked into this gallery twice before I actually sat down and said that I wanted to write about this gallery. I just didn’t Know if I could write anything for this gallery because to me it said it all. The title of the gallery, although some people thought it was a bit creepy because they thought it was literally about watching a woman falling asleep, didn’t seem like that to me. I thought it was a sad love letter to someone.

Sunsets are like a goodbye to the day, and ending before the sun finally says goodbye and goes to sleep. When I read what Vasquez had written about his work, it only reaffirmed my initial thoughts that this was a sweet, sad goodbye. Like the Red Hot Chili Peppers so famously said in their song “Under the Bridge”

“I drive on her streets

'Cause she's my companion

I walk through her hills

'Cause she knows who I am

She sees my good deeds

And she kisses me windy

I never worry

Now that is a lie”

It brought up in me the same emotions as this song does because it certainly does feel like you’re all alone in this big world, but the city is all that you have. And as the day ends, you say goodbye to it with the sun as you watch it fall asleep.

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