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Josh Meillier is a Brooklyn-based artist whose work is the soothing sound of nails on chalkboard. The blackboard imagery relates to education revolution caused by the Internet.
How did you get into painting in the first place?
I started in high school just taking all of the required courses to graduate, and ended up finding something that I enjoyed in drawing, which slowly developed into painting later on.
And when did you get into sculpture?
I became interested in sculpture right before I started graduate school, and then it took a stronger hold once I was in school, where I was able to focus more on theory.
Do you have a preferred medium or do you like to experiment?
I definitely like to keep it as open as possible. I absolutely have an affinity for oil paint, but in the end, it’s something I like to keep very open-ended. My sculptures are highly mixed-medium from fabricated and found objects.
I saw you have some silkscreens on your website, when did you get into that method of production?
I discovered silkscreen in undergraduate school, but I didn’t really understand it at the time as a tool for making paintings.
This is a perfect segue to our next question– your art has a lot of representations of the “Information Age,” what drew you to this subject in the first place?
I was actually drawn to it based on the Mueller report that came out about the Russia-United States “relations” during the 2016 election. I was interested in the report specifically because it is a document that was supposed to provide us information, but at the same time, since it is so heavily redacted, once you actually try to go in and access any of that information, you can’t.
How do you use social media to further your practice and sell your artwork through it? And how do you grapple with the idea of misinformation in the media that you criticize while also taking advantage of the good things it has to offer?
I use social media as a tool to connect with more people. It is a fantastic way to discover other artists and engage with them. It’s been really interesting to me how many artists are out there that will come across your content and message you to set up a studio visit or chat about some work. I have found social media is one of the best resources to do that, outside of the established networks like academic institutions.
Would you describe your work as industrial organic?
Very much so, yes. Growing up my family would build a house, and we would live in it for a short period of time, and then we would sell it and build a new one, and sell it, and repeat. So for me, from a young age, material and process were instilled into my existence. I would help frame walls, or drywall and mud, and because of that background, I think I have a relationship to a more industrious aesthetic.
“ Every day that I come to the studio, I bike here, which takes me about 20 minutes. I find this refreshing and it helps me get into the mindset.”
Do you have a favorite artist? And is there someone who heavily influences your work?
I definitely look at a lot of different artists. At the moment Taylor Anton White is a huge inspiration. I also enjoy the work of Aaron Curry, who makes sculptures, prints, and paintings. My influences are constantly changing though. And of course, I have some modernist references that I love as well, it is hard not to like them.
Do you only create work when you are in the studio or do you branch out?
I make work primarily in the studio, and that has a lot to do with how dirty my practice can be– there’s a lot of pigments and that sort of thing involved. But also casting objects, like the fire hydrant (see below), is just not possible to do at my apartment. Being in this neighborhood, which is a super industrial area, there’s a ton of metal scrap yards and milling of stone.