We had the good fortune of connecting with Joshua Elias and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Joshua, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
On a practical level be only as practical as you you need to be. Design your life, be flexible, own it all, your mistakes, your visions, and your successes. It has been used and re-used but love what you do and do what you love. Balance, The balance of understanding, when to listen and when to put forth and express. The delineation between acting in a mindset of creative improvisation or in one of fiction in a false sense, One is connected and one is unconnected to a higher source. The difference between light and an accumulation of dark spaces. The boundary between being open and being not prudent. The understanding that darkness is not depth. To know and be comfortable with the unknown. And to understand when to seek knowledge, as opposed to information. Love nature in all its iterations and open your heart and eyes to be part of it all, that is balance to me in life. This is vital and true in artwork and in all relationships,.. friends, lovers, enemies, strangers and family. Over time you develop intuition, hone it as a skill, and utilize to its best when you are able.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
This year as of January I have been at the Brewery 21 years. Since January 2020, I have sold twenty-one paintings. It is a very odd time but I have thrived regarding my artwork. To do well in adversity is something that I am proud of professionally and personally. I have learned that I approach my art career and my work as non-comparative. My work is to hone my voice, my skill, my vibration, my execution of work and to continue to take it to another level. I am persistent and consistent and dedicated. I am not the only one, but I am the only one that can do something about the quality of my work, my understanding of brushes and brushwork, my understanding of color, form, composition, line. texture, scale, materials, subtlety, and impact. I have learned to step back and listen to the work and listen and trust my intuition about what needs to be stated and what needs to be hidden. The idea of my work is for it to flow. To do the work, by always honoring the foundation of the work. The connection to the impetus to create a painting. It is not about where it winds up but wherever it does land and get hung on a wall, it is essential for the work to pulsate, illuminate, even its subtleties. The purpose to raise the vibrations of the viewer for example shall carry through the life of the painting and the life in the painting.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
First I would let them chill in my art studio in and invite them at the appropriate hour to a drink I have been making lately. A large glass of ice, Black Cherry juice, and splash of Ricard (a licorice pastis). Then I would make him or her another recent invention. A toasted slice of dark tartine bread with a dollop of Burrata cheese, a Portugeese Anchovy, Zatar ( a spice) a cherry tomato cut in half, raw pumpkin seeds sprinkled on top and olive oil drizzle over the whole thing. Places: my favorite coffee shops around the city. Santa Monica LOCAL on Pico and 23rd. Order up two Flat White oat milk lattes. Maybe over to Lunetta for breakfast. Then up to Montana a short stroll and snake on up to Temescal for a hike. Afterwards a dive in the Pacific. Another day might be up to Atwater Village and to Kaldi for Iced Americano. Order up a Falaffel plate at.Dune next door Sit outside, six feet apart, and talk and people watch. Maybe each write or answer some emails. A desert pickup across the way at my fav bakery Proof. Then back to the studio. Play with paint, let my friend do their play with paint and help them along if they choose….An afternoon Siesta. Then a hike in Griffith Park as the sun sets. Live music and museums are out right now so that is a bit of hole, but keen walks through different residential neighborhoods like Hancock Park and Brentwood, Rustic Canyon, Pasadena and the Palisades can work wonders to see and listen and feel different moods and tones of Los Angeles.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Well in order to create the paintings that I wanted to create I needed the space to do so. In 1999, I was commissioned by the designer Kelly Wearstler to create 48 artworks for Maison 140 in Beverly Hills. I wound up getting the studio I now am in at the Brewery Arts Complex to create the works. I have had it for 21 years now. A third of my life. The Carlson, Kristen Carlson, helped that all happen. For which I am unbelievably grateful. I have created I do not know maybe about 600 paintings here. My very first person that walked into my studio at the Brewery Artwalk 19 years ago was Lydia Takeshita (LA Artcore) and purchased two small abstracts, with handmade paint. I was over the moon. And that is pretty much where I live, over the moon. The people who deserve the most praise for any success that I have or will have besides a legion of baristas over the years are…Well they are many. In Los Angeles my friends, my art dealers, my art collectors, my canvas maker, my family, my fellow artists, and the city of Los Angeles. My mom artist Sheila Elias and my sister artist Joyce Elias have and continue to influence me. I had some professors over the years that revealed things to me. George Herms assemblage artist, had a brilliant mind and sense of humor, which I still admire. Major artists, like Gerhard Richter,Anselm Kiefer, Lucien Freud as well as Cecily Brown for living artists. Legends,Joan Mitchell, Mark Rothko,Clyfford Still and JMW Turner and of course Titan,Caravaggio and Leonardo. Artists and some are friends as well Judith Liebe, Scott Trimble, Other legends Diebenkorn, Gorky, Soutine, Bonnard, Gauguin, Van Gogh and far too many. I continue to learn as much as I can take in. Friends Judith,Gary, Jodi, Aya, Claudio, Scott, Ann, Rana, Fanny,Jenna, Lisa, Colleen, …many many more supporters. I have the coolest cadre of collectors in that they have shown me respect as an artist, a human, and genuine admiration of the work. Iao, Susan, Ashley and Mark and an incredibly large group worldwide have supported my work and in turn me. The ‘community’ is eclectic, abundant and generous. I am a seasoned traveler and so places themselves are often as influential as people. Nepal, Iceland, Southern France in Saissac, Andalucia Spain and Rome Italy are a few of my recent journeys. I appreciate greatly Los Angeles and its amorphous qualities that continue to interest me as I discover it daily.
Other: Best is instagram or google Joshua Elias artist
upclose photo of artist and painting Hancock Park by Claudio Santini