Interview x Preview with Joshua Paterker on 'We're Not As Colorful As We Think We Are'Juxtapoz // Friday, 10 Sep 2010
Shooting Gallery: This is your first gallery show that has works on paper. Has your artistic process altered with the change of this medium? Also, why did you decide to use paper instead of canvas?
Joshua Petker: The show is broken into two parts. One half is works on canvas, the other half are works on paper. My paintings have gotten more conceptual and not as loose as they used to be. Doing the works on paper allowed me to paint liberally and just for fun. That’s not to say I’m not serious about the works on paper because I am, but they are definitely different than my paintings. I like how fragile working on paper is. The way paper holds paint exposes all the human calculation and error involved in painting in a way that canvas can hide. I like that about working on paper.
Do you feel your art defies common female stereotypes of women in media? If so, how?
No, I don’t think my art does defies stereotypes at all. The figures in my work are usually re-appropriated directly from fashion photography, and the purpose of fashion photography is to sell items that help people express themselves. This is usually done with romantic, absurd, and hardly ever realized scenes of fantasy. That interests me. People are drawn to romance in their lives even though it is totally irreconcilable with the needs of nature. I take my imagery directly from the media, not as a commentary on media, but on our universal drive to be different, to be special, and to celebrate our omnipresent uniqueness together. All is pretty to me; I just don’t always paint that way.
How do you use color to transform your artwork?
At its core, I believe my work draws more on intuition and emotion than enlightened rationalism, harkening back to ideas that follow the dictations of pop and romantic inspiration rather than the established codes of contemporary art. Yet, at the same time, I believe the undercurrent and overall aesthetic of my work is contemporary, particularly in its color choices and philosophical inquiry. I find using extreme colors to be really beautiful and really aggressive and it heightens the absurdity and the glamour in my work. People use color as one way to define their taste and individuality and that interests me. It helps people express outwardly who they feel they are on the inside. I use color in my work in the same way but to a much more exaggerated extent than most people do in their fashion.
What is your favorite color?
Black and white are my favorite colors.
Are you a frequent visitor of the Sunset Strip and do you party with the rest of the White Snake crew that parks it there?
That’s funny. No, no, not at all. I live close to the Sunset Strip and my same interest in romance makes me enjoy being up there, and thinking of all the cool music and people that used to make that area fertile for creativity. Now it is mostly cheesy bars for tourists and musicians that want that romantic LA experience of days past. I’ve been to a few artist showcases up there and usually leave after an hour to go back to where I feel more at home. It’s not my scene. But, it does spur my imagination and I am prideful of the strips’ former glory though I wasn’t alive or old enough to experience it. This past weekend Slash performed there with Fergie for the Sunset Strip Festival. I didn’t mind missing that.
Beer or liquor?
I like it all.
We're Not As Colorful As We Think We Are
Solo show by Joshua Petker
Opens this Saturday, September 11, 2010 at 7pm
Through October 3rd
839 Larkin Street
San Francisco, CA