Josh Kiwikiwi

What influenced your journey pursuing the arts?
I’ve had to have a good think on this question. Art was something I always had a natural affinity for, and naturally if you’re good at something you put in practice and more practice to better your skills, and that’s what I did and still continue to do. I had some of the best supportive teaches and mentors whom I can call friends now that have always believed in me when others didn’t, and they still do. Without them I don’t think I would be pursuing the arts. I guess I always knew I’d do something creative but just didn’t know in what or how, and swore id never become anything close to a portrait artist, man I hated portraiture after high school, it drained all creativity out of me for a good 2 years or so. But once that time passed however, that’s what I became and finally made it my goal to find or pursue my own style and technique and stick with it, something I really struggled with.  Now that I’ve found it I continue to better myself like all artists do. 

Who or what inspires you?
Human expressions are my subject of choice, there’s something about people’s faces that do speak a thousand words. One person can perceive emotions differently to the next, and when you paint or draw portraits you have a duty to capture emotions whilst also expressing yourself at the same time, with the intent to draw the viewers’ eye and thoughts. With that I’m inspired by Culture and its relationship with color which is referenced in most of my work, such as my own Maori Heritage as well as other indigenous cultures like African, South American and Aborigine.

What is your medium of choice?
I seem to deviate between mediums to be honest; however, my preferred style I paint is usually with Acrylic paint mixed with various mediums like impasto and Modelling paste. I also transition over to oils as well, this was the first medium I used when finding my style.

Another is graphite on paper, a traditional art form that teaches you lighting, value, shading etc. The basics but also the most essential. There’s something about a pencil on a toothy paper that is crisp and timeless.

How would you describe your creative style?
Three words; BIG, BOLD, & COLOURFUL.  Similar to the principles of pop art in a way, Married together these three draw people’s eyes.  As said previously merge these with human expressions, and techniques of layering, depth and texture you create a beautiful roughness to each piece.

What does your art mean to you?
For me I knew if I put my mind to it, I could paint or draw, and figure out techniques myself. I found it challenging to paint or draw and didn’t really enjoy it for the first year or so getting back into art, because I didn’t have my own technique and style. I was painting but with no guidance or motivation which frustrated the hell out of me, until I accidentally stumbled upon and found my own style and technique giving me both challenge and joy.  So, what does my art mean to me? It means I can love what I do, I can find joy, with challenge, creative freedom, expression, anticipation and have motivation.

Do you have a favorite piece of art? If so who is it by & why is it your favorite?
To be honest I’ve got one too many & can never decide on what or who. I’m always awe inspired by people, places, nature, the earth, our universe, Creation. Whether you’re religious or not, one thing is for certain in art, that is art is not original. Yes technique, style and expression are original, but where we take reference from is not, it has a source. So, for me when I observe creation I see thought, intellect expression, creativity and love in the highest form, just like looking at a canvas or sculpture in a gallery.  Nothing we create with our hands and minds is by chance, so how could anything else be. We live in one giant Beautiful piece of art.

How would you describe the arts in Aotearoa?
From my experience thus far, the arts in Aotearoa is unique like anywhere else, we are a creative nation and also a very supportive bunch, whom are only too willing to help and support one another. Just like in sport kiwis get behind one another’s success and I know for myself and for others, when someone really loves your work, they go right ahead to tell others about it. We also live in a time where art is more mainstream with a variety of opportunities more so than ever. Yet it is still a niche like anything and isn’t an easy path to follow, but we’re such a small nation that the arts community band together because we all know how hard it can be. Yes, it can be cliquey at times (its art) but in my eyes all artists are successful as we’ve chased a path we chose and enjoy doing it whilst pursuing to better ourselves. 

Social Media
Josh’s Instagram

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