Joshua Roman is a Los Angeles-based painter.
I have always found the concept of writing an artist’s statements to be strange. After all, art is a very subjective thing, which is what I enjoy about it. I enjoy that I can create a painting that means a very definite thing to me, and that other people will take completely different things from it. For me, explaining what a painting means is pointless because it only means that particular thing to me. I think some artists have gotten away from what it is to be an artist and to just create. There is pressure to “succeed,” but “success” is a very dangerous word in the art world. Success has gone from meaning the act of creating something important, to the deed of selling the most paintings, and the claim of having the largest lines of people outside your show (who never seem to actually look at the paintings anyway.) I paint because I have to—to keep myself sane. Even if I never showed or sold my work, I would have a garage full to the brim with paintings. My works have always maintained a balance between figurative and cartoon-like styles. I find I need and use both of these approaches to express my vision of the world. For me, the world is both spectacularly beautiful, and simultaneously completely horrifying. I like the juxtaposition of these two perceptions. We need both of them in our life—not that we have a choice—so I reflect that in my art.
I have tried to show all aspects of life in my latest works—from birth to death, love to hate, and despair to hope. The search for love, the torment of losing it, the choices we make, suicide, beauty, religion, music, sex, fear—all of these things play a part in my conceptual approach. As far as my process goes, I tend to be very prolific for a few months, after which I will take a three-month hiatus. My inspirations are varied—a few culprits that could be blamed include: my endlessly entertaining friends, my family (though they don’t know how or why), the everyday mundane struggle of life, the few moments that make it all worthwhile, complete accidents, endless hours of people-watching, angry men, shyness, religious icons, 1950s furniture, Victorian clothing, pinup girls, Kurt Vonnegut, Max Barry, Wes Anderson, Michel Gondry, Tim Burton, Spike Jonze, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Anthony Caro, beautiful songs written by beautiful souls, dreams, nightmares, anyone who was ever daft enough to let me paint them, and apparently, run on sentences.