Your work is YOUR work, that is what makes you unique as an artist. Do not be swayed by trends to change the art that you do. Sometimes the art market is just not ready for your type of work yet. The market can be very fickle, so what isn’t popular today, might be popular tomorrow. But take that time to continue to strengthen your work, and sooner or later your time will come.
As a part of our series about “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Became An Artist” I had the pleasure of interviewing Joshua Evans.
In 2016, Joshua Evans embarked on a journey of self-discovery in painting, setting the stage for a remarkable transformation in his life. Recognizing the potential of his talent to open doors to a brighter future, he boldly decided to pursue a career in art while helping creatives achieve their dreams, too. In 2022, Joshua Evans founded Mijoshski., a brand dedicated to showcasing art and design.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
I grew up in the small town of Mobile, Alabama. My older sister and I were raised by our mother and grandmother. I was a quiet child, and I liked my alone time. I believe this had a direct correlation to my imagination growing so much. Thus, art became my outlet for this.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
I have always loved art since early childhood. I was always drawing and sketching images from life and anime. I never thought of it as a career path up until my Sophomore year of college. In the middle of the year, I experienced my first battle with depression. I was a bit lost and confused at the time, and I remember not knowing what to do because I had never experienced this before. One day was particularly hard, and I recall grabbing a pencil and paper, sitting down at my desk, and almost instinctively, I began drawing. I drew and drew, until I got all of my feelings out onto the paper. I remember hanging them up and feeling so calm after I had finished. I continued, and shortly after that I began teaching myself to oil paint. I began taking a few art classes at school, and one day our professor showed us a documentary on the notable artist, Kehinde Wiley. I was absolutely blown away. To see an African American man creating art at the level and notoriety he was at inspired me. It made me say: “I can do that too”, and today I keep going with hopes that I can inspire someone else the way Kehinde inspired me.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
I remember during quarantine I painted a piece where I used Jhené Aiko as a reference. Shortly after, I got off of social media for a couple of weeks. One day I decided to break my social media “fast” and get back on Instagram. I opened the app with so many notifications and messages. Jhené had reposted my artwork giving it a shoutout, and it was loved so much that her father wanted a piece from me. We got in touch and I was able to get him a print of the work. It was one of the first times my work had gotten such massive exposure, and I will never forget the feelings of gratitude it gave me.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
The most exciting project I am working on now is my new Art and Design company, Mijoshski. Named after my late father, it has allowed me to showcase art and make it widely available in avenues. But most importantly, it is a way for me to collaborate and connect with other artists and designers.
Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
The most interesting people I’ve interacted with have always been other artists. You NEVER know what you will get. Some are introverts who would rather not be in the spotlight, others are very flamboyant in their looks and art. You have artists who are extremely compassionate and intellectual deep-thinkers. You have ones who are very surface-level and what you see is what you get.
Where do you draw inspiration from? Can you share a story about that?
In my early years I watched a lot of Japanese anime (I still watch it religiously). But in my childhood it had an immense impact on my imagination. The otherworldly concepts, vibrant artwork and animation in the shows inspired me. This can still be seen in the surreal subject matter and imagery of my art today. As I grew older, I began teaching myself about artists that came before me. Old masters such as Goya, Caravaggio, and Michelangelo, inspired me with their in-depth knowledge and understanding of the craftsmanship behind painting. While new-age artists like Kehinde Wiley, Takashi Murakami, Amy Sherald, James Jean, Jennifer Packer, Daniel Arsham, etc., all inspire me in various ways. Not only with their art, but in the way they do business and the accomplishments they have achieved.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
One of my best examples of this is from last summer. I partnered with the Boys and Girls Club in my hometown teaching curious young adults about art and business. Some were interested in pursuing a career in graphic design, others wanted to move into fashion. With the knowledge I’ve gained from my experiences, I was able to help guide them and warn them of things in ways I did not receive at that age. For me, this is so important because the importance of art is not taught where I am from. Many kids receive backlash for wanting to pursue a living in the creative field. Thus, they are never taught about the opportunities out there, limiting their vision and ways of thinking.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why.
1 . If a gallery says you have to pay to exhibit with them, tell them have a nice day and walk away. Never pay to show your work at a gallery space. I made this mistake early in my career, and I hope this prevents other artists from making it too.
2 . Talent is extremely important, never doubt that. However, networking is just as important, and sometimes more important. A gallerist told me once: “You could be one of the greatest artists in the world, but nobody cares if nobody knows about you.” I know it can be hard for some artists who deal with social anxiety to get out there. But it is sometimes an important piece to a successful career that cannot be neglected.
3 . Do not be distracted by what other artists are doing and what you see on social media. Be aware of what’s going on in the art world, but only focus on the work you are doing in your studio. No two artists have the same path in this creative field, so please never compare your work or your accomplishments to another.
4 . Your work is YOUR work, that is what makes you unique as an artist. Do not be swayed by trends to change the art that you do. Sometimes the art market is just not ready for your type of work yet. The market can be very fickle, so what isn’t popular today, might be popular tomorrow. But take that time to continue to strengthen your work, and sooner or later your time will come.
5 . CALM DOWN. This is a marathon, not a sprint. There is no rush to get to the top. You need a strong foundation, especially when you are looking to build a sustainable career. It takes time to build a solid platform with loyal supporters, collectors, and partners. Be specific with the direction you want your career to go, and never compromise who you are as a person nor artists for quick opportunities.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
The best movement I can think of to inspire is the redistribution of wealth. This is why I love Grants and seek to create one through Mijoshski one day. I think about how much better our world could be if everyone was offered the same opportunities, not just the ones who can afford to do so. The amount of talented and intelligent individuals who go unnoticed because they do not have the resources motivates me to push for new avenues to redistribute wealth.
We have been blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she just might see this.
I would love to have a private breakfast with the current CEO of LOEWE, Pascale Lepoivre. Of course I love the brand and how they emphasize the importance of art in their pieces. But I am mainly inspired by the LOEWE FOUNDATION Craft Prize and how it seeks to acknowledge and support artisans all over. It is one of the only brands I know doing this. I would love the opportunity to learn more about this from the source, and how I could bring the idea to other areas that need it.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
My personal artist Instagram: @Joshuniverse
Brand Instagram: @Mijoshski
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!
Joshua Evans of Mijoshski: 5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Became An Artist was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.