This week I had the opportunity to have a conversation with Josh Benz at the Max. L. Gatov Gallery East in Cal State Long Beach. In the beginning, he was very timid and did not speak loud but he got more comfortable as he noticed we were all genuinely interested in his work. Josh used to do anime drawings in high school and based on that hobby he decided he wanted to pursue a career in art. Josh started off in a art college and then transferred to a community college and finally he came to Cal State Long Beach. His major is drawing/painting. His inspiration to become an artist were his grandparents because they were artists as well. They specialized with water colors but Josh preferred oil paint.
Although his main inspiration were his grandparents, he has other inspirations that include atmospheric, translucent layers of color. He enjoys throwing down colors in order to visualize his next unique creation. Also music and flavor from himself plays a role in his inspiration.
This is a close up of Josh’s work. Karen collaborated in this painting as well because he enjoys working with other and mixing different talents together. Karen started drawing the bottom left. he decided to paint around it so he won’t destroy her masterpiece. He was telling us that “messed up” because he put various colors and details. Personally in my view, I think it is beautiful. Art does not have to be precise and perfect. He put his own flavor and he did an awesome job in his area. On the right side, the kid starts playing with the water. On the top left it gets dark and erotic.The self portrait is in the top center. He painted stuffed animals because when he was a child he had a collection of stuffed animals so it just reminds him of his childhood times. The painting is a transition between childhood to adulthood. It is more psychological than literal. The painting has no name. If people do not understand the painting, he helps answer the doubts or questions of the structure of the painting. Josh is developing his voice in the painting. He desires to keep working and developing his paintings. He aspires to get an internship in art or study abroad like an art residency. Overall, Josh Benz is an intelligent and talented artist.