100 Creatives

100 Dallas Creatives: No. 92 Artistic Luminary Joshua King

Mixmaster presents "100 Creatives," in which we feature cultural entrepreneurs of Dallas in random order. Know an artistic mind who deserves a little bit of blog love? Email [email protected] with the whos and whys.

There's a consistent trait shared by creators: the fear of not creating. When most people think of a great idea, they smile and think "now that is a great idea," and then immediately move on to the next thing? Yeah. Creative people don't do that. They obsess over the idea, stay up late devising ways to implement the idea and then, they create. They have to.

Dallas-based artist Joshua King is one of those people. Instead of simply thinking to himself, "a late night show... centered on the art of light, video and sound" would be awesome, King and co-creator Shane Pennington made plans for Aurora. Then, he put it in the Dallas Arts District and, a few years later, the biennial event has exhibited over a hundred light, video and sound artists from around the world.

King isn't just the creator of Aurora though. His personal art practice, which he describes as "patient and fearless" has shown in numerous area galleries including WAAS, the Goss-Michael Foundation, Cohn Drennan Contemporary and many more.

It's not enough for King to internally contemplate his experience of life, he almost has to externalize that, whether through his own art, or through the curation of the art of others.

Dallas is lucky to have King, an artist whose studio practice is accomplished in its own right, but who has also made at least a piece of his life's mission to position Dallas as one of the country's (dare I say world's) most exciting art cities.

What have you been up to lately? I have two shows in November one in Dallas and the other in New York, so I'm working on two bodies of work that are similar yet completely different in scale for each show at the moment.  Then Aurora is in full swing for 2015. Not to mention I got married on May 17th as well in Lake Cliff Park.   Are you originally from Dallas? If not, what brought you here? No, I grew up in Lubbock, then I went to UNT for school which led me down the I-35 path to Dallas to focus on my career.    How would you describe your relationship with Dallas? Love it, hate it? Dallas and I get along very well. Being here at this time in history is very exciting. As for the city and it's art community, I would say I am very involved. Over the last five years I have helped show over 250 artists and brought 55 thousand people to experience what art in Dallas is about.  To say the least, being an artist at this moment in Dallas is prime, and I wouldn't go anywhere else.   Are you one of the artists who has to have a 'day job'? [I'm an] artist, producer, photographer.  You don't need a day job if you have three part-time jobs that you love and work at nonstop.   How would you describe your personal art practice? Patience and fearlessness. John Cage quoted one of my strongest beliefs in life: "There's no win and no fail, there's only make," so as I create this is always in my mind and it gives me a freedom in my work.   What inspires you to create? The fear of not creating anything. I love to find a simple beauty within a uniformity of form and tone through my experience of life. 

Where did the idea for Aurora come from? What was the goal/mission? In 2010 we were looking for something to bring to the Cedars Open Studios (COS), so Shane Pennington and I decided that a late night show that continued the COS into the night centered on the art of light, video and sound would be the way to go.  It was a pop-up exhibition that we soon realized had the potential to change the city. Veletta Forsythe Lill became our third co-founder and the mission began to bring art to the people of Dallas, to bring the city one of the greatest creative art exhibitions it has every seen.

What was/is the selection/curatorial process? The curatorial process has been an open call over the last years and the work was all selected by Shane and myself, but the future holds some well-established curators coming on board to raise the bar every year.   Did it have an international impact, if so, what was the reaction? It's largest to date, we had over 10 international artists in 2013 and several eyes found Dallas on the radar in the open call submissions and international publications.

Who inspires you? Either in Dallas or elsewhere? I have several inspirations. In Dallas I would say Shane Pennington, Tom Orr and Francis Bagley. All great people that also have an amazing body of work. Outside of that some other working artists of today are Tom Freidman, Anish Kapoor and Anthony Gourmley, to name a few.

What's next for you? Focusing on the two shows in November, Aurora 2015, and some large site-specific installation that I have on the drawing board.   What else is missing from the art world in Dallas? I would love to see a graffiti explosion. Take a look at Wynwood in Miami and you will know what I am saying. 

100 Creatives: 100. Theater Mastermind Matt Posey 99. Comedy Queen Amanda Austin 98. Deep Ellum Enterpriser Brandon Castillo 97. Humanitarian Artist Willie Baronet 96. Funny Man Paul Varghese 95. Painting Provocateur Art Peña 94. Magic Man Trigg Watson 93. Enigmatic Musician George Quartz

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Jennifer Smart
Contact: Jennifer Smart