Joseph Watson is a graduate from the prestigious Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. The artist quickly established himself as a strong and reliable force in the Las Vegas Arts Community and continues to make his presence known throughout the art industry. Michael’s Arts & Crafts and Hobby Lobby are a couple places that feature his artwork, as well as The Pacific Tile Art Studio who also sells his arts and murals. He speaks with Filthy Lucre to give insight into his world of art.
How long have you been painting?
I have been painting in the gallery scene for 15 years. However, I have been fortunate enough to launch my career of selling art at the age of 16 while still attending high school. At the time in the late 90’s, it was very difficult for a teenager to find employment in Los Angeles, especially employment that will contribute to your dream. I ended up
solving that issue by launching my own airbrush t-shirt business at the legendary Rodium Swapmeet. That lead to many other adventures in art such as sign painting, etc. I believe that this is where I learned the art of selling art, but at a much smaller scale.
Is there an artist or piece of work that inspired you to become an artist?
As a young artist, many of the large masterful graffiti murals in my community and freeway walls inspired me to draw. Later, I would have to say that the most influential art came from the masters, specifically artist like Winslow Homer, Leonardo da Vinci and many other unknown artists who created great works of art.
Who are some of your favorite living artist?
Some of my favorite artists range from Drew Struzan, Mark Ryden, And many more whom I prefer not to name. Some of my greatest creative influence is also fueled by chefs, architects, landscape artists and musicians.
What was the first piece you sold?
The first painting that I sold was to a friend of the family. I was maybe
16 or so at the time. It was a piece that depicted two smokers dressed to the nines as they sat back in a lounge waiting to socialize.
You have other projects, like a children’s book. Can you tell us about that?
Yes. I am the illustrator and co-creator of the popular Go,Go, Greta! Children’s book series. The story is about a adventurous little girl who achieves anything that she puts her mind to. The story is really inspirational, cleverly illustrated and fun for kids to read. Long ago, I teamed up with fellow writer / creative Dana Satterwhite. Satterwhite originally wrote the script for the series and I joined to develop the visuals and character design. We launched the first two books independently and are currently wrapping up the third book in the Go, Go, Greta series. Throughout the years, these books have been able to gain a solid following both within and outside of schools. We actually have several other stories and projects in early development. You can learn more about Go, Go, Greta at www.gogogreta.com
What do you find unique about the Las Vegas art community?
First of all, the fact that we exist in a unique city during a unique time is a unique situation. Also, the Las Vegas Art community has a wide range of diversity with overlapping creative sectors that are influenced by where we live. Currently, it isn’t one thing, one style. However, soon I feel we will be one movement. That’s the beauty of being part of the Las Vegas art community, you can be who you want to be, create what you want to create. By national standards, we are still a young community that can be shaped by the impact of one’s visual impact.
What’s the most unique piece you think you’ve made?
When compared to the rest of my art catalog, I would have to say the most unique piece that I created is a recent piece titled “Bound to Survive”. It depicts an octopus bound to another octopus. The setting has my signature vintage flare, with hints of intelligence, adaptation and love. Recently, it was displayed at the Crime on Canvas Exhibition at Life is Beautiful.
Do you have what you would consider to be a signature piece?
My signature piece would have to be Musical Aircraft. It is one of my most recognizable paintings, thanks to the 1 year billboard tour on the Las Vegas freeways! It was one of the winning paintings for the ArtPop competition. This piece depicts an aircraft constructed of musical instruments. Its the result of aviation engineering and music combined.
What advice do you have for new artists?
Know your purpose in life. Share your inner vision with your creativity. Look back only to learn from your mistakes. Always look forward to the undefined future and how your art will impact it. It is your job to eventually create art that is memorable, conversation worthy and valuable to others. Your voice counts, the world is yours. This is a long adventure, so consider every failure as a measurement of one unit closer to your success story. Good luck my friends!
Tell me about your art gallery:
The Joseph Watson Collection is an independent gallery owned and operated by my wife and I. We have been curating exhibitions, developing / mentoring artists, and making an impact on the community with art for over 10 years now. We frequently exhibit urban inspired paintings and street art. It is a very fulfilling role to play in Las Vegas. The Joseph Watson Collection has inspired tens of thousands of individuals throughout the years. You can find us at the world famous Arts Factory building.
Do you go to an art school?
Yes I did. I graduated with honors from the most prestigious art school money can buy…. Art Center College of Design in Pasadena CA. Graduating from Art Center was definitely one of the greatest early milestones that I achieved. It taught me how to build a better understanding of what art is, its end user application and purpose of creation.
So, what is your next move?
My next move is to increase the ownership of my art by expanding its reach both online and make it available in more gallery locations. Soon, I will announce a new series with a strong global appeal.