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JJoshua looks at the world as a place he hopes to help improve. This improvement through his art and positivity is a main goal of this Canadian-born freelancer. Just over a year ago, JJoshua dropped out of art school in Canada and moved first to Auburn, then to Fort Wayne to stay with a friend who had a place for him. He felt the school wasn’t feeding his aspirations, as it was more focused on a corporate upbringing and only concerned with providing him with a piece of paper rather than challenging him to become better. The passion just wasn’t there.
Although JJoshua was going to miss his friends, he took the plunge and left Toronto.
“When I feel a pull to do something I try my best not to let it pass me by,” said JJoshua in a recent interview. (The artist goes solely by the moniker to help improve his branding.)
JJoshua describes himself as a visual artist, but a quick glance at his website will show he’s got experience in a gaggle of different types of art. From animation, software-built video game characters, campaigning to develop murals around the city of Fort Wayne, traditional illustration, videography, copywriting and film scoring, JJoshua seems to have a lot on his plate.
One more traditional landscape, “Restoration Valley,” immediately evokes the late Bob Ross’ famous work. With tall, framing trees fading from bright Granny Smith apple green to a deeper hunter green, the foreground fruit trees stand out in a deep gray of shadow. A creek runs through the painting toward blue, shark-tooth mountains. A hint of chestnut red peeks out of the corner, sticking to the shore. The darkness up front flows through the painting to the vibrant blue of the sky. It evokes thoughts that match the title, as if walking along this creek towards the mountains will be life-altering, but in a most calm, pleasant way.
“Restoration Valley” is not like much of JJoshua’s other work, however. More recently JJoshua has used computer software like Blender and the Adobe Suite to create characters in a familiar yet unique way. Characters like “Frogronaut,” with its bulbous limbs and smile, can easily be pictured in a video game setting while “The Electrician” would fit right in on the Disney Channel.
Early Pixar has been a big influence on JJoshua since he began pursuing art in the 10th grade. His high school portfolio consisted of a lot of traditional drawings: still lifes, objects, portraits and hand drawings.
While on an online forum, he was exposed to one of the animators from the 1999-2005 Star Wars movies. Say what you will about these films, they are considered visually stunning and beautiful. While on this forum hosted by www.cgsociety.org, the animator suggested that JJoshua learn how to illustrate before trying to tackle 3D creation.
Using the internet, JJoshua began to teach himself illustration.
“I was very much a perfectionist when I was younger. There were a lot of torn-up drawings along the way,” he said. “When I got into cartooning, although it can be very technical, I really loosened up. After cartooning and settling in, my other art got better.”
He was originally inspired by the teaching of Andrew Loomis, best known for a series of instructional art books printed from 1939-1961. Concept artists Feng Zhu, Bobby Chiu were also big influences. Now JJoshua can simply go to a website like Pinterest and see many amazing artists to find inspiration.
JJoshua is also a creative writer and likes to mix that into his mural campaigns. Professionally, a lot of his freelancing is digital painting or digital illustration.
“I love trying a lot of different styles. When I’ve been doing something for a long time, it can get old. Recently I’ve been working my 3D work into video game development,” he said.
He prefers non-violent assignments, and he’s turned down a lot of video games and music videos due to their violent nature. It’s a message JJoshua doesn’t want to put across. He’s very particular about who he gets involved with.
“As a freelance artist, sometimes money is great, sometimes money is not great. Sometimes when it’s not great somebody comes by offering a decent amount of money for a job that I really don’t want to do. That can be difficult to say no to, but it’s worked out,” he said.
Giving people gentle reminders in one way or another to be more caring and courageous gives JJoshua the drive to keep creating. He finds concrete value in the way a story can be told and a lesson can be taught but at a distance, much like early Pixar tales where the over-arching message is hidden within a cute, easily-digested plot and character development. Whether it’s through the characters being animals or being for children in general, he thinks the audience must be comfortable enough to be able to take in the message and learn from it.
Some goals of JJoshua are to improve his storytelling and to get his messages across better. He wants his messages to grow and gain more value, although he admits that can be very subjective.
“I think the biggest thing I want to do with my art is try and help other people in positive ways. Whether that’s helping someone see something in a new way they never considered, using my art to help assist a small business find new customers or just something that someone really enjoys. All of those may be just fine by me.”
You can see JJoshua’s work at jjoshuamultimedia.com.