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Local Artist Spotlight: Joey Monsoon

Walker Evans Walker Evans Local Artist Spotlight: Joey Monsoon
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Joey Monsoon should be a name familiar to regular readers of Columbus Underground. He was voted as the best artist in Columbus by our readers from 2008 to 2010, and we’ve interviewed him before to discuss some of his gallery exhibitions around Columbus. This weekend he returns to the Lindsay gallery for a solo show, and we thought it was time to catch up with a new Q&A session. Our full interview can be found below:

Q: You did a show at the Lindsay Gallery in the summer of 2012 and are returning again just over a year later. Did that show go well for you? How did this new show come about?

A: The 2012 show at Lindsay Gallery was terrific. The opening reception was a blast and I received a lot of positive reaction to the work as a whole. My only goal is to show improvement as a painter. I believe I did that in 2012 and I am confident that people will see that again this December. I am tremendously lucky to have forged a relationship with Duff Lindsay. He has done everything that an artist could ask from a gallery owner. He is widely respected for good reason. And personally, his confidence in me has in turn given me greater confidence in myself as a painter.

Q: I think your work has become fairly recognizable for anyone familiar with the local art scene in Columbus, but it also has a feeling of familiarity beyond that. Every time I look at a piece, I’m asking myself if these are portraits of people that I know in real life. Do you ever hear that kind of reaction to your work from others?

A: I have had experiences where someone will tell me that a particular painting reminds them of person they know well. What is so interesting to me about this is that I almost never use a model for my paintings. My intention is for each painting to relate an emotional portrait, not so much a physical one. So it becomes even more compelling to me that they recognize an emotion in a painting and it directly connects them to someone they know or to themselves.

Q: During our last interview in 2009, you mentioned that a friend told you that the people in your paintings are too ugly. I’ve noticed that they’re all too skinny when compared to the average American these days. What draws your eye toward creating figures that appear frail, gaunt and sinewy?

A: I am drawn towards the seeming disparate relationship between physical vulnerability and emotional courage. I feel like the sinewy, gnarly, skinny frames of my figures reveal an inner strength necessary for them to endure the trials of life. The notion that thin wrists require thick skin is a thread running throughout my work. Not to mention I am kind of a skinny gangly guy myself and I think most artists, whether then intend to or not, end up recreating themselves in their work.

Q: Beyond the upcoming gallery exhibition, what other plans are in the works for Joey Monsoon for 2014?

A: To be honest, my only plans at this point for early 2014 are to read, relax and spend as much time as possible with my family. I work a regular 9 to 5 job and have a wonderfully supportive wife and beautiful son. I do all of my painting from about 9PM to 11PM each night after my son goes to sleep. I’ve spent the last 8 months working on the paintings for this show. I am sort of looking forward to recharging this winter then returning to the studio in the spring.

Joey’s work will be on display at The Lindsay Gallery in December, with an artist reception on Friday, December 6th from 6pm to 9pm in advance of Gallery Hop.

More information can be found at www.joeymonsoon.com.

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