Josh Stebbins was born in Enid Oklahoma, August 31st 1982, he creates drawings/illustrations (pencil & ink), as well as watercolor and mixed media artworks. By examining the duality of life in it’s many variations, Stebbins tries to relate a sense of beauty (and even humor) in the darker aspects of what influences his work, to his audience; often leading to many different interpretations. His artwork takes macabre, religious, elegant, and even cartoon related content merging it together in various metaphors and ironic forms, leaving the viewer (hopefully), thinking as to what the puzzle is behind each piece. Using mainly pen and ink, each work lends itself immediately to a stark contrast that is not only black and white, but also a classical sense mixed with surrealism and pop culture. His art often opens up a world shadows and creepy subjects, but at its core, they deliver a message to the viewer to embrace that which might be unsettling and find that without darkness there cannot be light, and without ugliness there cannot be beauty. *Josh has been featured in various galleries such as La Luz de Jesus Gallery, Stephen Romano Gallery, Stranger Factory, Arch Enemy Gallery, Haas Brothers Gallery, El Cuervo Gallery, Dark Art Emporium Gallery etc.
DISINFO: Why do you think there is a revival in interest in all thing occult and esoteric in the arts?
I believe that at this time in human history people are more “lost” than ever, always searching for answers while being immersed in a sea of materialism, consumerism, technology, fear…and always coming up empty handed. Fear is the main ingredient for this cocktail, the unknown has always sparked fear while being simultaneously fascinating to us. The occult is the dimly lit corner of the room that we’ve been told is the express elevator to Hell…it’s current revival is a response to the overwhelming mainstream conditioning in our daily lives and the nightmarish frustrations that go along with it. There are people that find a sense of comfort, even hope, that these ancient beliefs and subjects seem to project; while it might appear to be dark in nature for those on the outside, its a grand fireworks display for those that seek knowledge and understanding of something deeper, something that can’t be found on Google.
To a point I suppose, there are far more people out in the world that are more qualified than I. If my audience finds a healing ability in my work, I am overjoyed for them; I admire them to be able to look and feel so deeply as to connect on a healing level, its something that is sorely missing in our culture today.
For me its a calling, its something that has to be expressed on a near daily basis. Art has been my only salvation in life. Self expression can be as addictive as pills and booze. The feeling you get from creating something you know is great is better than any drug, even if its not to be seen by the public.
Its been an already long path that’s for sure, and I’m still close to it’s beginning. Starting out at a young age with such a passion for art, I wanted nothing more than to be a comic book artist, so there are large number of artists I admired that made comics and cartoons but I can’t remember off hand their names. When I really decided that being an artist is the direction I must take, I was in my teens, and I would say the biggest influence on me at that time was H.R. Giger. His ability and insight was like nothing I’d seen before, it seriously lit the fire under my ass. Through trial and error and small strokes of luck I began to make headway in my journey. None of it was easy though, but its this struggle by which I believe a person can call themselves a true artist, the title isn’t just handed to you, parts of your journey have to be heartbreaking otherwise you wouldn’t appreciate your ability to create, and the various rewards that come with it. In later years I can pinpoint my biggest inspirations, that being Joe Coleman, Elizabeth McGrath, and Kembra Pfahler. Its the sense of fearlessness that these certain artists instilled in me that not only solidified my choice to be an artist but has to this day compelled me to continue the journey even in the darkest times of my life. I hope to keep going down this path for as long as the Universe will allow me.
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