An Interview with the Artist Joseph Walton

30th January 2019

Joseph Walton is a Brooklyn based artist, who is starting to gain notoriety. His work, which is straddles 20th century modernism and contemporary minimalism, explores ideas of reality and gender through a fusion of forms, figures and colours.

His entry to the art world came after an early love with Hip Hop, which initially inspired a career as a high-end streetwear designer for half a decade. More recently however, his attention has turned towards painting.

His work, which blends his urban roots and a love for cubism, feels like a 21st century take on Picasso, bringing his own personal style to the art world. Candid Magazine sat down with Joseph to hear all about his career.

Candid Magazine: Why and when did you decide to be an artist?

Joseph Walton: In the summer of 2013, I had just returned to Georgia from living in New York City. After hitting an all time low, dealing with depression, bad break-ups and irresponsible decision making, moving back to Georgia helped me get my feet back on the ground and surround myself with people that genuinely cared for me. I think for me it was more so the ability that I could create something whenever and however I wanted. Producing work in any way I could bring myself to creating in different mediums. The Ideas I could manifest to physical work was endless.

CM: Did you have a formal training in art?

JW: The only true training might have been an art class in high school but I had no real passion in being a painter. I was a natural when it came to creating though.

Perfect Imperfections by Joseph Walton. 3 X 4 foot, oil on canvas.

CM: What is a typical day like in your studio?

JW: A typical day in my studio consist of setting the mood before I actually start painting . I get my music on in the speakers, which can range from Wale to Shek Wes. I need natural light more than studio light. I want to feel like I’m living with what I’m creating. Then I grab the oil sticks or paints I plan on using for the day and focus on those areas where I’m going to be using those colors.

CM: Describe the process of how a work comes to life??

JW: The process has to do a lot with what happens in my life right before I start a painting. The series of events in my life that led to that specific day, where I’m purchasing a new canvas and paints to create something new. All emotions mixed in with present feelings are used in deciding what canvas and colors I choose to use. So there is no real idea. I try to mirror what my present moment and incorporate my feelings into my painting.

CM: Tell us about your streetwear designs?

Since Kanye West birthed into the scene with a Louis Vuitton backpack and polo shirts I’ve been a fan. The confidence he gave me when I was younger always inspired me to create something special for myself if I ever had the opportunity. So after senior year in high school (2010), I moved to New York where I could really focus on creating my own brand and of course come in contact with opportunities that I hadn’t been able to before. 

From 2010 I’ve designed pieces based off of my love for patterns and silhouettes of certain fabrics. Designs aimed for the everyday worker with luxury details was the goal. A lot of designs had great responses but it wasn’t the reaction I wanted. I loved designing and working on cut and sew projects but the end result never turned out the way I wanted. Shortly after many trial and error attempts, I stopped designing and working on clothing projects. My heart wasn’t into designing anymore. 

CM: What are some of your biggest sources of inspiration and what is it about Picasso and cubism that appeals to you?

JW: My life experiences play a big role as an inspiration to my work. It is the life force that activates my process. My wife is often my muse and because so many emotions and feelings derive from our everyday life. A lot of her is involved in what I create.

The Growth from within by Joseph Walton. 5 x 4 foot, oil/acrylic on canvas.

Picasso plays a role into how I create because a large mass of his work revolves around women. The way he showcased emotion and feeling towards his woman muses was like none other. You can feel the emotion as if you are in front of the woman he’s painting or sketching. The way his distorted images are created is made so you can resonate. 

That’s when cubism transforms into more of a “curve-ism” for me. Where there is less cubes and more curves! 

CM: What has been your proudest achievement to date?

JW: My proudest achievement is throwing my own show in the Lower East side next to an Andy Warhol Pop-up. I had no major gallery support or advisors guiding me. I put together my own show at a gallery venue and the outcome far exceeded my expectations. I was proud of myself and it also solidified my claims of the greatest artist in New York City, haha!

CM: What would you like to achieve in the future?

JW: World domination! Ha no, I’m joking but to impact the world with my story as the underdog artist that took on the world and changed the trajectory of what a fine artist is in modern times!  

Words by Toby Mellors

You can see more of Joseph Walton's work on his website here and follow him on Instagram here.

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