Saturday, 17 November 2007

Josh Serafin - Expressionist Oil painter

Last week I was walking through the local outdoor mall with my 4 year daughter. We were on our way to Claire’s to buy some princess accessories for her best friend’s birthday present. On the way to the boutique/kids jewelry store we walked by the weekly outdoor art show and some vivid art work caught my eye.

What I liked was the feeling of passion, and intense vivid colors that gave the art a uniqueness, in that most of the art walks around here are all about landscapes, and well, more landscapes. It was refreshing to see something with some pizzaz and attitude, even some abstraction!

I approached expressionist oil painter Josh Serafin and asked him if he would be wiling to answer some questions for the interview you can read below. What I admire about Josh is the way he acknowledged everyone that walked by his booth in a friendly but non-pushy way. Since getting to know him I must say I admire him all the more for being a full time working artist and supporting himself and his family doing what he loves.

Here’s what Josh had to say….

1. Why did you choose to pursue a career as a professional working artist?
When I was in college I enrolled in classes that steered me toward a business degree. The first week of classes I realized I would be going through college as someone else (so to speak). So I took the plunge into my passion and attempted to go for what was calling. An Art degree wasn’t the most career oriented / money making occupation, but it sounded amazing.

2. What is your ultimate vision of success for yourself as a professional working artist?
For me success as an artist is being able to produce what I know and love and get paid doing it. By doing so I’m striking the chord of emotion with the buyer/viewer. This only motivates me to paint more so I can keep filling people’s walls with positive energy.

3. What do you like most and least about this work of making and selling your art?
Going from a blank surface to a satisfied finished work is the most exhilarating part for me. Taking what’s stored in my mind to a visual element is what it’s all about. Having my own schedule is a plus. And watching someone walk a way with my work smiling is an unforgettable high. My least favorite part is what shows to book and the inconstancy of cash flow. I try hard not to let money get in the way, but when you have a wife, house, two daughters, and like to do things, it’s almost impossible for it not to once in a while. Another hard aspect is finding other ways to use your imagery (paintings) as other income opportunities. Lastly, at times just selling your art can be a tough gig.

4. What else do you do, along with art fairs, to sell and promote your work?
Until recently I had my Studio/Gallery for 5 years in a low traffic area here in Huntington Beach. I would hold 2 solo shows per year. Every show has a theme and I present 10-15 new paintings each show along with my growing collection of prints. I have a live guitar player, wine, sushi platter, cheese, fruit, etc. Usually I would get a feature in a paper or two which would help bring mostly locals. Also I mail out a few hundred cards from the mailing list I’ve compiled through my outdoor shows. Another way I promote is being on various sites throughout web, including my own. I have a company named Kava which has recently used a few of my images on their t-shirts. But most of all nothing beats word of mouth.

5. Do you also have gallery representation?
Pacific Surf Gallery in Cardiff by the Sea exhibits my work. Peter is the owner and his small quant Gallery is a must visit. It’s a very unique Gallery in the fact that it specializes in Beach/Surf Culture. The energy is far from stuffy.

7. If you listen to music while you paint, what’s you current favorite?
The Doors have and always will be a favorite. However I listen to a bundle of tunes. Anywhere from my buddy Jeremy Snyder to Miles Davis. What pumps me up are good lyrics and crisp music.

8. What’s your art studio feel like, look like? Do you ever have studio visitors?
When collectors and or visitors enter my studio much of the same reaction comes with a action painter and thrive through emotion and literal energy swings. Therefore causing paint to land where ever it pleases. I also use the big tubes of oil and various jars of medium that congregate like a work of art of their own. In fact I recently put together a five year pallet with finished used paint tubes, brushes that have turned to nubs, broken pallet knifes and whatever other tools I use to get the job done. I dammar varnished the lay out and the piece represents a five year duration from my studio. It I’ll be up for grabs during my winter 2008 show.

The photos in this blog are from Josh's studio!
To see Josh’s art visit his website at
You can contact Josh Serafin at

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