SAM’s Got Talent

I sit right next to Joshua Gosovich every morning at the reception desk in the administrative offices of the museum. We talk a lot. We are always updating each other on the most recent movies we’ve watched. We share ideas on how to cook unusual produce. He is an adventurous farmers market shopper and I get strange fruit in my CSA produce box. (According to Josh, roasting a Jerusalem artichoke is really good!). And of course we commiserate on the woes and hilarity of a rather public desk. In addition to being the museum receptionist and my compatriot, Josh is also an artist. He is currently having an art show at the Balmar in Ballard through December 9. I realized that I didn’t know very much about Josh, The Artist. Following is my bright-light-in-the-eyes interrogation to learn more about my artist friend.

How long have you been an artist?
Since 1996—my first official art class in high school.

How did you get started?
Basic high school art classes (drawing, colored pencils and watercolors) and competitions (“I won lots of competitions” he says with a smile). My junior year of high school I moved to a new high school that had a different art program—it was rich both in money (everything was brand new) and in spirit. And since, by my junior year in high school, I had most of my graduation requirements completed I could focus on taking art courses.

How would you describe your artwork to someone who has no familiarity with it?
I’m a painter and illustrator. All of my art has a basis in real life—familiar things and themes we can all relate to. With the Day of the Dead skeletons I’m basically saying we’re all skeletons—we can all identify with that. A later series I did of houses, well, we all live in houses. I try to do things we can identify with—something familiar.

What mission or message does your art have?
I don’t think I set out to make a statement. I want us all (the viewers) to identify and empathize with the theme.

Membrane Beach House, acrylic on canvas, 16 x 20 in.

What inspires you?
Lots of things inspire me—nature especially—life, animals. But also, juxtaposition—opposing things. Putting things together that shouldn’t be together—a bit of the surreal.

What’s it like having your art in the public eye?
I enjoy it. I enjoy it being seen. It does make me feel vulnerable at times. I’ve spent time with a piece; and seek peer approval. It’s one thing to know that I like it or that my wife likes it but to have an unbiased response is good. It’s nice to hear when people say they like it but even if they hate it, it’s just nice to elicit a response.

What’s it like being an artist and working at SAM?
It’s an interesting perspective to have. Being surrounded by all kinds of art from all times, regions and cultures is great and inspiring. Plus I get in for free!

Do you have a favorite piece of art at SAM?
I don’t have one particular, but I love the old American and European collections.

What direction do you hope to take your art in the future?
That’s a good question. I want to make it more personal. I don’t think my art has a focus. I’d like to develop a style that people can recognize as “Josh’s Art.” But it’s hard to foresee how that will go in the future. That takes time. I’ve been working on my own particular style for the last 8 years. That’s been my focus.

What do you think about while you’re painting?
Lots of things. I always listen to music that’s for sure—music I can zone out to. It becomes a Zen thing—an escape. It’s good for my head. I can get lost in the details.

How long will your art be on view at the Balmar?
Through December 9th.

-Liz Stone, Operations Assistant

Top photo: Dead Tired, acrylic on canvas, 16 x 20 in.