The world of fantastic existential art now has a new force on its stage – Creator Joshua L Johnston (JLJ). Not since the works of Giger and Kostabi has there been an artist who’s visionary works blend and combine the outer-reaches of the imagination with psychological beauty and bitter anatomy. JLJ’s works evoke strong emotions and speak in tongues that viewers have yet to behold. And that’s exactly his intention.
JLJ was born October 1st, 1978. At the impressionable age of three, JLJ was developing his yen for sketching and the world of surrealism. As JLJ grew in years, so did his abilities and perceptions on the world around him, which he bled onto paper. His art became his outlet in times of anger, frustration, and boredom. JLJ’s work was his personal outlet for emotions that very few know how to grasp. His parents were supportive of his gift. Recognizing their son’s talent, JLJ’s father (who was an extremely accomplished musician in his own right) encouraged JLJ to develop his talent, which led to JLJ exuding his psychosis into art pieces at a fast and frenetic pace. His mother contributed words that persevere in his ambitions: “If you can imagine it, you can create it.” These formidable years yielded to the masterful artist before you today. JLJ’s works have amassed to an eclectic portfolio in celebrated galleries. His works all imbue a spirit and a reflection of their own.
The painting “Amok” defines itself as “stretching imaginable psychic disturbance beyond normal thought.” This is the closest translation that literal language can endow on this piece. The surrealist motif of “Amok” challenges viewers to stand outside their imagination and reflect on its implications.
A physique with an elongated neck, stretched wrists that never reveal hands and a rich red background immediately challenges audiences. The 4 foot by 8 foot painting, called simply “My Shadow”, engages viewers in a cerebral chess game.
With a pivotal artistic pilgrimage to Italy in 2007, JLJ returned with rainy images of Venice in peaceful, yet somber tones of the work of an impressionist. The tranquility of such a painting, “Lido di Malamocco”, echoed visions of old masters solidifying his craft across genres and the stylistic spectrum. In the same breath, JLJ continues to emanate a distinctive voice.
Upon first assessment, his work seems outwardly expressive in the meaning and yet further reflection reveals a much more sinister and intrusive nature of these existentialist embodiments. While JLJ’s style is psychological and unique, his artistic influences and impressions are constantly changing which transform into cryptic works that bare the smile of artistic precision in abnormality. JLJ espouses on the nature of his work, “Anything one can verbalize… I can express through my work. It’s like music. It encompasses the same amazement and mystique that music can convey without any words.”
JLJ’s work will definitely speak to viewers without words… The astounding reaction is in how you listen.
Written By M.J. Miller