October 2021 Issue
About the Cover Artist — Joshua Roman
By Kelly Hunter
Our cover art for November is called “Kindred Spirits,” and it has us in a Halloween mood. Like most of Joshua Roman’s work, it transports you into another world. It takes the familiar (often drawing on popular culture) and turns it inside out. Through inventive use of color and line, Joshua takes you through the looking glass to the world within.
Joshua creates his spellbinding mixed-media artwork in a secluded home studio in the forested mountains of California, just far enough from the distractions of Los Angeles. He spent 15 years in the City of Angels, but found he is much more productive in the woods, where he moved seven years ago. During that time, Joshua’s work has evolved. He has to be productive to keep up with the demand for his other-worldly paintings.
Primarily self-taught, Joshua has taken classes in figure drawing, graphic design and animation. Although he acknowledges his imagination and perspective are unique, he believes anyone can make art. The skill evident in his pieces has come from thousands of hours of trial and error. As Joshua says, “I started out drawing stick figures like everyone else.”
However, he kept drawing and experimenting with media and techniques and became fascinated with achieving semi-realistic portraits using continuous lines. Joshua’s signature technique of using whorls of brightly colored lines emerged from a challenge he gave himself. Inspired by a computer-generated image of a leg drawn with tubes of neon that he saw in a book, he set out to see if he could do something similar with lines of different colors. Eventually, he discovered that markers allowed him to work faster and more consistently in laying down the layers of colors.
Joshua’s work doesn’t stop with markers. He adds acrylic paint, metallic paint, glitter and three-dimensional elements to his creations before covering them in resin. His use of resin began simply to protect and preserve his work, but it became a part of his process. This multi-step technique allows Joshua to, as he says, “collaborate between the me now thinking about it and the me then first sketching out the idea.”
Asked about his work habits, Joshua says he wakes up each day, has a cup of coffee, and starts to work: “If I sit around and wait to be inspired, I won’t do it.” He also quoted one of his biggest artistic influences, Chuck Close: “Inspiration is for amateurs.” This straightforward approach obviously hasn’t stifled Joshua’s creativity. His work is evidence that he has no interest in photorealism. As he says, “The point of the artist is to show what we look like on the inside.”