Artist: Josh Vasquez
Exhibition: I Love the Way You Fall Asleep
Media: Oil on canvas
Gallery: Max L. Gatov Gallery East
About the Artist
Josh Vasquez is a student at CSULB who is pursuing a B.A. in Drawing and Painting. He has grown up in close proximity to Los Angeles all of his life. He claims his gallery is somewhat of a science experiment. After painting and composing his art for two months with no feedback from anyone, he wishes to have his art viewed with a fresh prospective. As Josh has stated, he wishes to witness how much his voice has grown through art by watching the reactions of others.
Josh employs oil and canvas for all of his art pieces. His colors used are representative of a colorful sunset. Large gradients, vivid colors, and daring contrasts are spread throughout his work. Graffiti style text is covered up with poorly matching paint in certain areas.
Josh’s exhibition describes all of the aspects of life that can make up Los Angeles, but are often ignored. Graffiti in every possible location and colorful sunsets every evening numb inhabitant’s senses and appreciation. “I Love the Way You Fall Asleep” is spread across his artwork. I think that this is a great comparison to the way he has recreated the sunset in many of his paintings, and made the use of the sunset colors well throughout his artwork. However, when Josh made his slogan look like it was graffiti that had been covered up, he contradicted himself. In a way, the city is ever changing. I think the distinction that Josh has made with his art is that fleeting moments such as a sunset or a picture of the city’s current graffiti are beautiful in their own sense.
Synthesis / My Experience
The city. Full of people, culture, beauty, ugly, and everything else someone can take for granted. Josh does an excellent job capturing almost everything that can be overlooked, taken for granted, and marginalized in a city. “I Love the Way You Fall Asleep” is a terrific indication of his attention to detail. Not everyone can appreciate the thrilling visual performance that someone falling asleep embodies. Personally, I think that paying attention to the smaller details in life can make beautiful things happen. Whether you are streamlining a mundane task or buying yourself smaller feel-good items, you learn to appreciate what is around you, and appreciate yourself. Josh’s art touches powerful subjects contained within fleeting moments.
I found the concept of the graffiti cover representing art to be interesting. When I used to work in San Francisco and take the CalTrain from my house in San Jose all the way up to San Francisco, I would see a lot of graffiti. Graffiti art is different from other forms of art in a sense. Yeah, it is a bunch of colors with unique styling and represents self expression. But it also represents a fleeting moment of time, like Josh’s title references. It also is alive, in a sense. I learned that there exists a very finite amount of money in the Caltrans budget that is dedicated to the removal of graffiti. So with that, graffiti is always being replaced, refreshed, renewed, and (to Caltrans misery) showcased very publicly. When graffiti is covered up, it is “Falling Asleep” in a sense.
When I viewed one of his many sunset pieces, and recalled that the exhibition was focused on Los Angeles, my first thought was that the furthest picture to the right was an ocean with a beach on the side. Then I opened my mind to the other pictures and managed to link them together, realizing that they represented another sunset. What I appreciated most in his pictures was the pure focus on the color gradient within the sky. When I first came to Southern California I noticed that the sunsets were often much more colorful albeit smoggy. I think that he did not choose to showcase any bold silhouettes in order to capture the only piece of the landscape that was alive. The sky.
I really enjoyed how Josh employed his exhibition title in so many different ways, but managed to stay true to the meaning of the phrase.