We had the good fortune of connecting with Josh Beliso and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Josh, can you talk to us a bit about the social impact of your business?
There are two parts of my life that I am choosing to combine professionally at the moment – art and food. While I continue to make art in the midst of a pandemic, I will also be launching a line of condiments (mustard, honey, and infused vinegars) in early 2021. These are two passions rooted in two different parts of my life, both fueled by the same driving force. I want to use my creativity as a problem-solving ambition, like many people are forced to do as economic and social conditions become increasingly more difficult to navigate. For me, food and art are essential passions that help me contribute to society as a productive member and help me provide as a father. My art is both a conversation starter and an act of permission – giving people the permission to nurture their lives outside of socio-economic conditions and politics. Most importantly, my art seeks to treat laughter as a natural bodily reaction – one that should not be castigated. It spotlights the idea that life is worth laughing about in all of its complicated facets. The artists and people out there who are looking for a pause in this great beast of life and from the social complexities of our lives, deserve to feel free. I find it limiting and propagandist to convey specific social messaging in my own work because my art is not meant to function in that way. It is up to you, the viewer, to define it. You have the complete freedom of interpretation. All I can do is hope that it brings a smile to your face or stirs a thought inside you. This is something I see fading away as tensions rise in modernity. This is how I believe I am helping the world and my community. Life is short, so we must live and let live. You don’t have to agree with everyone, and that’s okay.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
It’s been a long and erosive process to say the least. Much of who I am as an artist is because of the many lives I’ve shed to get here. In other words, I am constantly shedding my dead and flakey past as I push into new areas of myself and my practice. Was it easy? At some points, it was. Mostly in my thought processes, usually due to my natural intuitiveness. However, it has been mostly difficult. When I chose to work in stone, I knew it would be a difficult medium, both literally and figuratively. It not only takes me longer to make my work and build up a substantial body of work, but it’s quite a bit trickier to transport the sculptures. They are heavy, oftentimes fragile, and almost unfixable if damage occurs. In a nutshell, I have had to learn to adapt and problem solve on the spot without freaking out. Sometimes taking a breather is all I can do and the best tool to get that last bit of momentum to finish a job. If you were to take anything away from my story, let it be: smile as often as you can and don’t feel guilty about it. Don’t stop making work, no matter the circumstances. Don’t expect a handout or a serendipitous discovery. Work hard…then harder. One last thing would be to learn skills you think you won’t ever use.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Playing “tour guide” is a favorite pastime of mine. Since LA is so diverse in its cultures we can experience a lot in a relatively small amount of space. To start off with breakfast, I would have to take you to one of the many burrito spots around the city because breakfast burritos are a “must” in LA. Amigos Tacos in Manhattan beach is the most visited spot in my repertoire. Definitely get the habanero salsa. Then, we’d go to the beach to gorge on our plunder. Afterwards, head over to Grunions Sports Bar & Grill for a midday drink. It’s a classic dive and an icon of the neighborhood. Having been around since the 70s, it has a multi generational effect on the people of LA’s South Bay. For lunch, I’d drive North to Bay Cities Italian Deli in Santa Monica. Get the Godmother sandwich, or my personal favorite, the Spaniard. If there’s any room left, head over to Sweet Lady Janes on Montana Avenue for the best pies and pastries. Get the cherry pie, it won’t disappoint. While you’re on Montana Ave, take a stroll to Andrew’s Cheese shop and grab a bottle of wine, as well as some of the best cheeses available in the city. For dinner, you can go to a whole boatload of Michelin Star restaurants and experience extraordinary dining. But if you’re on a budget and if you like pork, go to Tsujita Annex on Sawtelle for the king of ramen broths. Get the Tsukemen! Still hungry? No problem. For a midnight snack, you must look up the nearest El Flaming Taco Truck and order the California burrito with pastrami, because you will die unless you try it at least once. For entertainment and a good time, go to Harvard and Stone. With great drinks, a rad music scene, and the girls from Jumbo’s Clown Room, you will not want to leave. For daytime activities, check out some art in our DTLA Arts District. You’ll find more good food and lots of great galleries. You’ll find anything from small galleries to big, blue chip spaces. Want more fun? Just go to the beach, the beach is really all you need. Stay out of the Valley. The Valley is where souls go to die. Just kidding, but the fun spots are few and far between. Things to take away from this: Explore a lot and go to different areas as often as possible. Eat a lot, and then go to the beach.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Oh my! That’s going to be a large list, and I apologize to those who aren’t mentioned. In short, my family has been my biggest source of support and encouragement. My little girl is not just my greatest achievement, but my biggest motivator. Without her, I could have easily dried up into a useless member of society. My friends and academic advisors have also been a huge help to me as I have made mistakes and needed extra pushes to look deeper into my work. A few people I’d like to shoutout would be: Scott Grieger, Thomas Mueller, Karen Moss, Nao Bustamante, Ruben Ochoa, Westin Walker.There are many more.
Josh Beliso, Chandrea Miller(Garage Door)