Abstract artist, Joshua Rios will be exhibiting at Art San Diego 2022. Continue reading to learn more about Joshua and his work.
Q: Who are you and what do you do?
A: I am Joshua Rios, 33 years old, a California native now residing in San Diego. I am an oil painter in abstract, expressionism, realism, and allover styles. When I’m not painting, I work as a k-12 visiting teacher for San Diego Unified. I also play guitar, make frames, and write novels and short stories.
Q: What is your background?
A: Beginning in high school I took art and ceramic classes for electives. I did not know then how important art would be in my life, so I merely enjoyed them without expectation. While going to community college I started painting on my own to decorate my bedroom walls, and eventually took several art classes, from general sketching to advanced painting. While earning my bachelor’s degree at San Jose State University I continued painting in my spare time and began creating digital artwork. During my years in San Jose, I was accepted into the Kaleid art gallery downtown for local artists and was a vendor for many art fairs in San Jose’s SOFA district, such as first Fridays and their multi-day subZERO art festival.
Q: How do you work?
A: When painting at home I put away all distractions, sometimes working in complete silence or playing instrumental music in the background. Working with oil requires patience; it takes a while for the paint to set. But since I don’t have any, I am often working on multiple paintings at a time between sessions. Whether painting on site or in my home I absorb myself entirely and work as swiftly as I can. I will paint until a subject is finished or the canvas is completely wet and I can no longer add layers. I try to be efficient and plan out the amount of time and sessions I will work on a single painting. However, this is hardly the case and I accept my process must be free to continue as long as it takes. The process is a journey. I can only control it so much before I find myself working with a painting as much as on it.
Q: What art and artist do you most identify with? How have they influenced you?
A: For whatever reason I have always found that abstract paintings resonate the most with me. I remember first learning about Jackson Pollock in high school during art class when our art teacher showed us one of his most famous works (number 31). I was so pleased to know that his style of art was valued in the world. This was before I had ever painted a picture in my life, yet I knew once I had the freedom I would create the same style of painting. I believe artists are inherently intuitive.
Learning about Van Gogh’s artwork was a similar experience for me. Viewing his sketch, The Postman, was the first time I recognized an artist’s style without seeing their signature. The professor showed the sketch and I instantly knew it was Van Gogh. It is like his signature is embedded within the artwork itself, that is how distinct his style is. And that is something I strive for as an artist. Whenever I paint scenes and subjects, I am always thinking of Van Gogh’s creative perspective and vibrant imagination.
I also must mention Pablo Picasso, who I love for his fun, and simple yet sophisticated subjects. His paintings blossom in the imagination and take the edge off the seriousness of life. He is another artist who makes me confident in pursuing my own style with no expectations but my own.
Q: What has been your favorite experience so far as an artist?
A: I started painting to experiment with color and design and decorate my walls. I was hooked when I realized how much artwork can positively change a living space and add to our lives. The more I painted the more ideas I had, and I fell in love with the possibilities. I look forward to bringing more unique artworks into the world for myself and others to enjoy. My favorite experience has been rediscovering a years-old painting and being inspired and reassured by it. It’s like receiving a message from your younger self hoping to tell you how talented you were yesterday, are today, and will be tomorrow.
Q: What is the best advice you have received?
A: I learned many years ago that good advice can come from anywhere. One day while painting outside my apartment, my neighbor, an older gentleman who comes from a family of musicians, was walking out of his house and saw me working. He approached my station and asked what I was up to. I told him I was just experimenting with some paintings. He studied my work and then said, “you know, eventually it just comes down to proficiency. How proficient are you at what you do? Because not everybody’s going to like the same stuff. But if you can be proficient at what you do, then you’re doing alright, man.” That might have been the first time I thought of myself as having a distinct style of painting and realizing it doesn’t have to please everybody.
Q: When you are not working, where can we find you?
A: When I am not working I am working. My day job as an educator keeps me busy during the week. When I come home, I rest, eat, and then start painting, practicing music, or working on a writing project. But aside from work and home, I enjoy exercising, either at the gym, the park or just around my neighborhood. I like to get out in nature and take hikes or just walk around the city and find a new restaurant to eat at. Sometimes I go out and listen to live music on the weekends at a few different venues. You can find me at Balboa Park, walking through the museums, enjoying the scenery, or just passing through. I also go to Mission Bay or any of the beaches in San Diego when I want to swim or just relax outside.
Q: How has your career as an artist shifted during the past two years? And did the pandemic have an influence on your art?
A: Two years ago I was not engaged with growing my career as an artist. I painted on a whim, reluctant to share my new work with others just yet. I had only just started painting again in 2018 when I moved into my own apartment in San Diego after not painting for 6 months. Over the pandemic, I completed several works that broke me through to a whole new level of expectation for myself. I knew it was time to start selling my paintings in San Diego once the pandemic was over. The most significant thing I did was build my website, which is now my most valuable tool as both a storefront and portfolio.
I painted only two pandemic-influenced paintings. One was at the beginning of the lockdown and the other was right before I caught covid-19, which ironically portrayed how it felt being ill. It’s a painting called The Blues on my website. Aside from the pleasant downtime, the pandemic provided me, I tend to keep it well in the rearview mirror and do not remember it often.
Attending Art San Diego 2022? Make sure to stop by booth #324 to meet Joshua and see more of his pieces!