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Josh Stein

Josh Stein (b. 1973, Hammonton, New Jersey; currently residing in Napa, California) is a lifelong multi-mode creative artist, musician, writer, professor with multiple advanced degrees from the University of California and the University of Liverpool, adult beverage maker, and current MFA candidate at School of Visual Arts in New York City.


He has more than five hundreds articles in print, including monthly columns and covering a range of cultural and lifestyle issues; his artwork and copy have graced the front and back labels of dozens of releases from a myriad of Northern California wine producers; and his artwork has been nationally and internationally published numerous times and exhibited in a wide range of locations around the world, including the CICA Museum in Seoul, Korea, Adas Israel in Washington DC, Burning Man in Blackrock, Nevada, and Gallery 1064 in Seattle, amongst many others. He has had multiple solo shows in California and Washington states and has participated in numerous duo and group shows nationally and internationally.


With formal training in calligraphy, graphic design, and color work; more than two decades as a researcher, teacher, and writer in cultural analysis in the vein of the Birmingham and Frankfurt Schools; and a decade and a half as a commercial artist and designer for multiple winery clients; he brings his influences of Pop art, Tattoo flash and lining techniques, and Abstract Surrealism and Expressionism to the extreme edge where graphic design and calligraphy meet the Platonic theory of forms.

Artist: Josh Stein

Based in Napa, USA

Instagram: @steincreates


Culturally Arts Collective features:

"ANTI-ART", February 15 - July 22 2023, Milostka Center for Exhibitions 

What do you aim to say by the themes in your art?
My goals are usually not to say anything but instead to provide platforms by which others might come to see and understand themselves. As my art is dependent on associations the audience makes, it is precisely how each piece is experienced and understood idiosyncratically which I am most interested in.
Where does your inspiration come from?
I work in a deliberately iterative fashion, creating many works and moving as fast as I can with multiple pieces always moving towards completion at the same time. It's within that timeless creative flow where I find most of my inspiration, the act of creating inspiring and enticing the creation of more.

My goal is to simply produce as much as I can for as long as I can, a human factory wherein everything passes through one set of hands, one set of eyes, and to then disperse the artwork as far and wide as possible. Too many creators have only been recognized once no longer making or alive to have that play any part in my practice; the goal is to always be additive to the universe rather than taking from it.
Do you have experiences that impacted your art?
Growing up without much materially gave me a very strong sense that what I could not afford, I could make myself, and mine might not be like anyone else's, never mass produced, but if it got the job done, it was good enough for me.

My existence as a liminal outsider peering in, jacking the systems around me wherever and however I could, taught me to treat each moment as full of possibility, usually ones never seen if the only solution to all problems was money.

I became clever and survived; I grew and learned.
I want to share the results, but also that the process if not just survivable but beneficial, that I understand myself, others, and the world around me far more deeply because the shield of privilege was not there.
Do you feel your art challenges existing barriers?
Yes. The goal and the impacts I have seen happen for others in experiencing the work is to break down inherited barriers, to willingly see the world in different ways: neither natural nor UV lights but both; neither flat 2D work nor fully sculptural 3D work but both.
What are your long-term artistic goals? 
I am currently mid-MFA at School of Visual Arts, and with that degree in hand, my goals are to begin decade four as a teacher as a teacher of art rather than writing and to continue both my public art and gallery-centric projects, to create as long as there is a maker to create.
What advice do you have for aspiring artists?
Dream big but plan in detail, including backups, what-ifs, workaround, etc. Set a schedule to create every day, no matter how early or late or long or short the session, and hold yourself accountable to doing the work. Iterate. Iterate. Iterate. Send work out all the time.

Count the yourself lucky when someone takes the time to tell you they are turning you down--it's actually a compliment. Iterate. Iterate. Iterate. Say yes to everything until you can say no to anything. Remember daily how many people wish/desire/hope to create but never do, for whatever the reason, and celebrate that you do. Iterate. Iterate. Iterate.
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