Josh Gates

"I’m especially inspired by the artists who are actually in my life, where I get to have a close-up window into their ideas and creative process."

What artists have influenced you the most, and why?
I’m especially inspired by the artists who are actually in my life, where I get to have a
close-up window into their ideas and creative process. In the last couple of years, some
of those people have included PSU instructor Tia Factor (@tiafactor), and student
colleagues like Jake Johnson (@jakesjungle), Linneah Hanson
(@me.myself.and.ice.cream), Jon Bordas (@jon_b_art), and Lloyd Daylight
(@lloyddaylight). Being a student of Tia’s helped me hone in on combining realism with
unexpected colors and textures to capture the feeling of a place. In terms of historical
figures, I love Isabel Bishop, David Hockney, and all the Post-Impressionists.

What moments make you feel most creative?
I’m captivated by fleeting conditions of weather and light, like sunshowers and reflections
on wet streets. As an Oregon-raised longtime Portlander, I think the rainy but ever-
changing Pacific Northwest climate is really beautiful. Lately I’ve been inspired by other
kinds of transitory conditions—like floods, or the interaction between natural and artificial
light. Travel always makes me want to paint the places I’ve seen.

What’s the hardest part of your work?
Knowing when to step away and call a painting finished instead of overworking it. 

What is something about your process that no one knows about?
I somehow have tubes of oil paint from 20 years ago that still haven’t run out.

What drives you to create?
Life is short, and not always pleasant. I want to add beauty to the world where I can, and
this is what I have to offer.

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