We had the good fortune of connecting with Joshua Brady and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Joshua, do you have some perspective or insight you can share with us on the question of when someone should give up versus when they should keep going?
That’s an interesting question and one that can be given multiple answers. It’s kind of like trying to answer “When do you know a painting is finished”? Let’s start with a smaller answer in terms of how to know when I need to give up (or keep going) on a piece of Art that I’m working on….A lot of times, especially on bigger canvases/projects I will run out of steam about halfway through the piece. It’ll stay in the studio in a spot where I see it every time I walk in. If I can see it and continue to think “hm, I should add ____ here or there” then I know it’s a salvageable project. On the projects that get scraped I can usually tell pretty quickly if it’s time to give it up. For instance, sometimes I can see a piece about two days in and start to critique it in terms of how it would look a bit more effective if I redid it. If the revamped vision can be reworked from what I started with, so be it. Other times its just a lesson learned. In terms of Art as a chronic process I think sometimes breaks in creation are needed to refuel and relearn how to love the process and also reevaluate WHY I’m making Art. Even if I’m not making Art but still thinking about making something or even feeling badly about not making anything then I know a small piece of me is still forging ahead. My dad recently died and the last thing I wanted to do was make anything at all. I had to force myself into the studio about once a week just to doodle. I began to question was Art was something I needed in my life anymore. I questioned by in a time of intense emotion and pain I didn’t want to tap that source and put it into a creation. Ultimately I tried to find the balance of making myself doodle and letting my Art sit on the the shelf when I needed it to. It wasn’t long thereafter that I began to miss working and specifically working with my hands. And so I began again, slowly at first. I guess sometimes, I keep going so slowly it’s hard to tell I’m moving at all; but as long as I’m still moving than I guess I haven’t given up!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I don’t really work in a specific style or medium. I prefer to do what I want, when I want to do it. I prefer to experiment and learn rather than dedicate myself any specific “thing” for too long. I think that eclectic nature might set me apart-people never know what I’m going to make next. I am still trying to bridge the gap between move love of drawing in marker and working on big canvases or 3D objects-so the idea stays consistent but the processes are always evolving. I love trying to combine different materials and see what happens. I also enjoy trying to use materials to mimic other processes and mediums. I don’t think anything is particularly “easy” when it comes to doing something you love. I love making Art but I’m not in a place where I can do it full-time and so I have to constantly find a balance between work and creating my own Art. Even when that comes easily there is still the difficult aspect of harnessing patience to continue practicing my Art while developing a viable plan to let me create on my own as a full-time career and as I’ve discovered I am needing to be patient over a series of years. Looking at the short-term goals (finish this drawing/painting/etc) and counting those victories provides a measurable metric that pleasantly offsets the bigger picture of an 8-10 year plan. I’ve learned that nothing comes fast or easy if you aren’t willing to put in the work. For every one “overnight success” there are thousands of people grinding away at their passion whether for fame or personal pleasure. Neither one is right nor wrong but for most of us, catastrophic opportunity won’t be handed to us without perseverance.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Oh so like a “dream date” with my friend! Minus any record-breaking snow storms we would do a little paddle boarding at Curt Gowdy State Park (Wyoming) before heading down to Ft. Collins to have a Sad Panda at Horse & Dragon. If it was my buddy Russ visiting we would try to catch a punk show in Denver to relive some nostalgia from the salad days and then I would force him to wander downtown with me while we looked at the murals and used CD stores.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Artists, to me, are inherently finicky and a bit complicated to grasp and be around sometimes. So the people closest to me deserve a lot of credit for putting up with me. My mom and Dad have always supported my Art even when it makes no sense to them. One of my best final memories of my dad was when he came to a showing I had in a brewery and he sat with me and my friends the whole time and insisted on buying all our drinks. He didn’t always “get it” but he was damn happy to see me doing what I love. My grandparents also played a monumental role in developing my creativity when I was young. Their house was a place where I didn’t want to watch TV because they always had something to do with me that required an imaginative universe. Jenn is my girlfriend and is closer to all my whacky whims, tantrums and ill-thought ideas than anyone. Through all that she has never wavered in supporting whatever it is I decide to do with Art. In college I joked with my buddies that it was going to take a really special woman to love me. And that is very true. A while back some local Art friends and I began the Wy/Art Coalition and although COVID put a damper on a lot of our plans I am still thankful to have our little group of friends to bounce ideas off of and share in-progress shots with.
Facebook: Dirty Hands Art Workshop