Every aspect of existence is infinitely complex, the organization of our cells, the way they shape us, the quality of our social relationships, which is the result of our own thoughts and self-expression, or the way we gather wood for a camp fire, or we just sit down on a chair to listen to someone, and anything else that comes to mind, we can experience that the power of creation is everywhere. Art is also creative, and the artist, - who, perhaps it doesn't matter whether he is inspired in the creation of his work by an unconscious intuition or a conscious decision -, is motivated mostly by touching the emotional world of the beholder to create new emotions. Welcome Josh Agle, who is a real artist and, who takes us to different points of view with his works and shares with us thoughts that can be useful in all areas of life.
The Teraphim (Josh Agle)
Lajtár Lili (LL): Who or what influenced you to choose this life path?
Josh Agle (JA): I have been drawing and painting my entire life, and even when I was a young child I thought I would be an artist. When I got older I realized how hard it was to make a living as an artist, so I studied business at University. I was about half way through the business program when I decided business was easy but boring, so I changed my major to fine art and determined to be an artist.
LL: Where do you get the inspiration for your works? What motivates you to create?
JA: My inspiration comes from many places - it can be something I experienced, like being at a party in Palm Springs, or it can be something I saw, like a vintage telephone in a second hand store. I write down my ideas and have a long list of things I want to paint.
I am motivated to make art because I like creating things that haven’t before existed. I can take an idea and a few art supplies and come up with something completely new.
LL: What advice would you give to someone who has lost his motivation in the field of art? Has something similar happened to you yet?
JA: I’ve never lost my motivation, but I have had trouble coming up with ideas. I was told to keep making things, even if I was out of ideas, so I sketched and sketched until I came up with something I was happy with. That was almost twenty years ago, and since then I’ve never run out of ideas.
LL: In your opinion, what makes a work perfect?
JA: I don’t think there is any such thing as a perfect work. An artist could work on a piece forever trying to perfect it. The secret is knowing when it’s reached a point where the artist is satisfied with the piece.
LL: In general, how long does it take to make one and what is the process?
JA: An original painting can take several weeks. I start with sketches of an idea, then refine them until I am happy with the general concept. Then I decide on a color scheme and paint the entire canvas one color - the predominant color in the piece. I paint over that, beginning with things in the background, and work my way forward. The last things I paint are in the foreground.
LL: Which topics do you mainly depict on the canvas and why?
JA: My topics are mid-century modern architecture, Palm Springs, and tropical/tiki scenes. I am drawn to the imagery of the 1950s and 1960s, but I consider my paintings to be occuring in the future.
LL: Which of your works do you know people are very interested in?
JA: The works that seem to get the most interest from people are pieces that deviate from my normal subject matter. Occasionally I will do something unexpected and that gets a lot of people talking. It doesn’t necessarily translate in to art sales, though.
LL: Every artist is different, so all works have one thing in common: they are unique. Why did you decide on cartoon-like paintings?
JA: I don’t think cartoon-like is the right description. I was visually inspired by commercial art from the 1950s and 1960s, which also inspired animation from that era, and also inspired a group of animators in the 1990s. I wasn’t inspired by cartoons themselves, but there is a visual affinity.
Blind Curve (Josh Agle)
LL: What do you think is the most difficult thing in an artist's life?
JA: For most artists, making a living while staying true to one’s artistic vision is the most difficult thing.
LL: Why do you like tiki culture? What does it help you express?
JA: I spent the first eight years of my life in Hawaii, so I think I have a subconscious draw to Polynesian and tiki imagery. I see it as an encapsulation of escapism and consumerism, two big themes in my art.
LL: What do you think makes someone talented in art?
JA: There are various talents a successful artist needs, but an artist doesn’t need to have all of them:
Good painting and drawing skills
The ability to execute a concept
The ability to create something that people have an emotional response to.
LL: What do you consider to be the biggest challenge in creating a work of art?
JA: For me, coming up with a concept that moves me and which I think will have a positive impact on the viewer is the hardest thing.
LL: What messages do your works have?
JA: The principle message in my art is a call to embrace the temporal pleasures of existence. Some call it hedonism or consumerism, but the need to have pleasurable experiences and be surrounded by beautiful things shouldn’t be ignored. At the same time, my pieces often send a message that there are dangers to unmitigated epicureanism.
LL: Is there anything you might be missing in your life? According to what goals do you live your everyday life?
JA: Every day is an attempt to find something missing in my life. I just don’t know what that thing is. I try to find it by making art, by doing physical activity (mostly surfing) or consuming food or media.
LL: Have they ever approached you with special requests? If so, could you tell me a story?
JA: I get many special requests but I usually say no to them. I have been approached by people who want me to paint their pets or houses. Sometimes they want to see themselves placed in one of my paintings.
LL: Do you like giving interviews?
JA: Yes, it’s a legitimate way to talk about oneself!
LL: To what extent do your children carry on your spirituality? How do you see, in general, the receptivity of a child is to the world around him depends on what?
JA: I don’t know if spirituality is the right word for my world view, but I have tried to instill empathy and a desire to be good citizens of the world in my children. I also told them to follow their hearts when it came to picking a career - if they wanted to be artists or singers or auto mechanics because that’s what they loved, then they should pursue it and they would be happy in life.
I can’t speak for all children, but the receptivity to the world in my children was influenced by my excitement and joy in experiencing new things and exploring new places.
High Roller Suite (Josh Agle)
LL: How can young people be motivated to respect and preserve works of art?
JA: It’s a cliché, but education is a big factor in appreciating art, and if it is appreciated it will be preserved. There was a movement in the USA 20 years ago to cut school funding for arts programs, so that science, math, reading and writing would take precedence, but fortunately that trend has reversed.
LL: What message do you have for young people?
JA: I would give the same message that I gave to my own children: if you are passionate about something, really in love with it, pursue it and make it your career.
LL: Painting is suitable for expressing many feelings and thoughts, but even so, there are definitely things that cannot be expressed through them. What is your opinion, what difficulties can arise in conveying the world of feelings?
JA: Paintings can convey feelings and thoughts, but they are less emotional than music or movies because paintings are static.
The difficulties in conveying feelings arise because there is generally no one standing next to a painting to explain its meaning or how the artist hoped the viewer would feel or react.
LL: Is there anything that you would like to share in addition to the above questions?
JA: People ask me how to become a successful artist. I can offer three pieces of advice:
- Never say no to any opportunity when you are starting out, even if the pay isn’t what you hoped for
- Always meet your deadlines. If a gallery has to choose between two artists they like equally, but one meets their deadlines, they will choose that artist.
- Make art that you love yourself, and would love to own. My career didn’t take off until I painted what I wanted, not what I thought buyers wanted.
His work is available in Budapest at Kolibri Art Gallery.
Thank you Josh Agle for the interview, further success in your work and always have a good time surfing.
How to Win Friends (Josh Agle)