Wednesday, October 27, 2010

PONSHOP Featured Artist Interview: Joshua Barber

PONSHOP is excited to be featuring the work of Joshua Barber in the gallery this month. Scarlett and I have known Joshua since 1997 and it's amazing to see his growth as an artist over the years. PONSHOP Intern Sarah Dawes conducted an interview with Barber and discussed the work he has featured at the PONSHOP. We also gained some insight on his overall artistic style and influences.

Joshua Barber is a painter of contemporary icons and landscapes. Having received his BFA cum laude from Appalachian State University, Barber has exhibited his work in New York, Los Angeles, London, and Bristol. Barber uses hand-weathered paper and wood as a medium for much of his work, as well as acrylic with oil and pencil detailing. Many of his stylized figures are reflective of the religious artwork Barber explored on his trip to Jerusalem, Jordan and Egypt in 2000. Capturing a nocturnal sense of memories and figures, Barber’s work is often characterized as darkly humorous and dreamlike. He has been selected for the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts’ auction for three consecutive years.

Joshua Barber is the son of notable maritime artist John Barber, who is widely-known for his paintings of the Chesapeake Bay. In his youth, Joshua Barber was known to accompany his father in his studio or on excursions around the Chesapeake to find painting locations. Today, both artists are featured in the Barber Gallery at Gallery 5800 in Richmond.

"Hook, Line, and Naughty Sinker" Mixed Media on Wood, 15"x18"

Q: When and how did you start developing an interest in art?
A: It really started at a very early age. One of my favorite memories was in 1st or 2nd grade, when my elementary school put together a cookbook with recipes from the teachers and artwork from selected students. I was chosen to represent my class because of my interest in art. I remember drawing a very happy smiley faced shrimp.
I got pulled out of class and sent into a room to do my special drawings solo. There was a sense of power that I felt from that experience. It wasn't necessarily a feeling of being gifted or popular, but more realizing, "Suckers! You have to do cursive handwriting when I get to draw." I found my shortcut and used and abused that mindset till I graduated from art school.

Q: What kinds of places have you lived in or visited that have then had a strong effect on your style and perspective?
A: The places I've visited have trumped the places I've lived. There is a certain vulnerability in being an outsider visiting someone else's home that I have found very inspirational. My main inspiration for my modern icons came from visiting places like Israel, Jordan and Egypt and seeing how much history is a part of everyday life. From the Middle East, I took away the sacred quality of beauty that illuminates the image and the story. On the flip side, I lived in the U.K. for a short period of time and picked up the idea of having an aggressive sense of humor and the pride to produce truly original work. Inspiration is always around. Virginia is my home.

Q: You have your hands in a lot of different creative media. When we first met in 1997, you were playing a lot of music, and studying graphic design. How does this multifaceted approach influence/inform your creative process?
A: I like making stuff, whether it's a collection of paintings or chocolate chip pancakes. I've never understood the concept of "being a jack of all trades, but master of none." To me that's like saying that I understand the world, but I've never left the country. From a conceptual side, understanding the crescendo of a song or the climax of a documentary only enhances the creation of a painting. A painting is a multi-faceted piece of work that demands a beginning and end to its story.
From a business perspective, I would encourage young artists who are stepping into the game to get savvy with their promotional skills. No matter how good you are, where you're from, who you know, etc., you have to represent your work well. That is key.

"Can You Do The Birthday Cake?", Mixed Media on Wood, 9"x11"

Q: You and your father show work together at Gallery 5800 in Richmond. Can you tell us a little bit about the gallery and your association?
A: My father and I had an exhibition together in October 2009 titled, "Barber vs. Barber." My father John Barber, in my opinion and others', is one of the best contemporary realism painters in America today. His use of color, light and technique is extraordinary. My iconic work was starkly different and gaining momentum in galleries throughout the U.K. We decided that exhibiting together would be a great collaboration as father and son and it resulted in a very powerful show. The best comment that was made about the "Barber vs. Barber" show was, "I have my money on Barber." That was one of the proudest nights of my life. We are both represented by Gallery 5800.

Q: Can you briefly touch on some of the common themes in your artwork?
A: I bookend my work with happiness and depression and let everything else fall in between. Life is complicated for every single human being on the planet, and I find that simple fact beautiful and unifying.
Everyone wakes up in the middle of the night with racing thoughts and no one holds a golden ticket. I like to chronicle everything I experience and let my work amplify my fears, dreams and hopes.

Q: Why do you choose to work with the media used in your work? How do you think this enhances your work in ways that other methods could not?
A: Experimentation. I have shot paintings with shotguns, splattered them with bleach from a toothbrush, buried pieces in the backyard and dipped them in month-old coffee. I would say in the last ten years, six or seven out of fifty experiments actually worked. It was fun though.
Now, I do have a "secret formula" to how I create my pieces that leaves the audience guessing. I find great pride in that. I also heavily respect painters who use a traditional method of oil, acrylic, watercolors etc. It simply didn't work for me, so I had to create a witches' brew for me to be satisfied.

"Look, I See What You Mean From A Totally Different Point of View", Mixed Media on Wood, 9"x11"

Q: Your artwork has unique and often times humorous titles. The title, “Hook, Line and Naughty Sinker” evokes some giggles from our patrons when they read it. Can you touch upon the relationship between the images and titles and how they can influence one another?
A: It kills me when I see a beautiful painting by an artist titled ironically, "untitled." Paintings are layered as much as thoughts behind them. My work is based on connecting with people. Being obscure or above the audience is boring to me. I want people to understand the painting, with a little bit of a love nudge, and then everything is open to interpretation.

Q: Your current show “all the ways i’m leaving you” runs until October 31 at Gallery 5800. Give us an overview of the show and what you’d like the viewer to take with them.
A: "all the ways i'm leaving you" was an exploration into kinetic landscapes which represent the moments and the decisions made before a true story begins. The collection was actually a challenge for me to create. I worked this year on several specific paintings for commissions and auctions, which is how I prefer to paint, but it's so rewarding to be able to step back and see a unified collection.
I wanted every viewer to take a second, erase the world and relate to these moments on their own terms. I'm proud that the red-wagon piece, "i'll show you yours and you show me mine," went to a collector who said it "captured his childhood." It doesn't get any better than that.

You can view more of Joshua Barber's work on

Monday, October 25, 2010

Hello Brooklyn!

The Pons family took a quick jaunt to Brooklyn, NY last week to visit some old friends and show our boys a bit of our old neighborhood from years back. Below are some snapshots from our trip!

Carroll Street: the old crib in a neighborhood of brownstones...
Southern Hemisphere (Australia) meets Northern Hemisphere (North America): thunder is made.
We took the kids to the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Store to stock up on items.
Grand Army Plaza with some Richard Meier thang going on around the bend...
I miss Prospect Park - awesome tunnels and such...
The "international four" (left to right): Loochie Loo, Mad Cappy, Monster D, and Lady ZD...
We stopped by DUMBO on the way out to check out some paint on walls...(some call it art!)

Diego was too inspired and got up on that right quick with his personal stash of markers...

Thanks to Wendy and Adam for a memorable trip - we hope you enjoy the rest of your trip around the globe.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Fundraiser for Fredericksburg United Methodist Church Preschool

PONSHOP is holding our first fundraiser for the Fredericksburg United Methodist Church Preschool. We are donating 10% of all sales (including class and workshop fees) to the Preschool, as well as offering two 45-minute workshops for children who are 3-4 years old. Anyone can participate, even if the children do not go to the preschool and older siblings are welcome to sign up for a class too.

What: A 45-minute workshop teaching your children how to create their own ceramic mask and decorate with ceramic paints while exploring hand building techniques with ceramic artist Scarlett Suhy-Pons.

When: Saturday November 6th, two class sessions are available:

Cost: $12 per student

Where: PONSHOP Studio in Downtown Fredericksburg, 712 Caroline Street.

Class Limit: 6 per session

To register: call PONSHOP at 540-656-2215

Kick off your holiday shopping season by enrolling your child in a class! 10% of all sales that day will be donated to Fredericksburg United Methodist Church Preschool.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

PONSHOP in the Local Press

Adam Desio, "Controlled Chaos" (detail) , Acrylic on Panel, 36"x36"

October's Show was featured in a recent write up in the Freelance Star's Weekender Section.
Click Here to view the story.
PONSHOP is excited to exhibit select work from featured artists: Adam Desio, Rob Landeck, Joshua Barber, Ginger Huebner, Jeremy Gann and many more.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

November First Friday: Stencil Release Party

Nov. 5 2010: We are celebrating November’s First Friday event with the release of the the PONSHOP Stencil Kit I’ve been working on over the past couple months. This “Do It Yourself” book includes six original graphic designs - ten stencils all together ranging from “beginner” to “expert.” Stemming from the excitement over our “Street Art” class exercises, the stencil kit acts as an extension of the course as well as a first-time tutorial for beginners.

I’ll be giving a live demonstration throughout the evening, cutting stencils from the kit and spray painting samples for the crowd. We will also open up the Public Wall in the garden of the PONSHOP that evening and encourage all you stencil artists to stop in and hit up the wall with your own favorite stencils - BYOP means bring your own paint and creativity...

We invite any of you to the public wall of our shop where you can stencil, paint, and draw. Guests have an exclusive evening to participate with their own of spray paint, markers, stickers, wheat paste and more.

In the gallery, featured artists for November include Joshua Barber (mixed media), Rob Landeck (mixed media), Ginger Huebner (mixed media), Adam Desio (acrylic and photography), Reuben Strangelove (illuminated media), and Jeremy Gann (mixed media) as well as Scarlett’s most recent ceramic creations. We are also excited to premiere local artist Bill Harris’s exclusive series of block prints.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Blue Q Bags

We have new bags from Blue Q that are made from 95% recycled post-consumer material. In addition 1% of the sales from these bags goes to the conservation work of the Nature Conservancy. These reusable bags are great for every day use while remaining durable and looking great. We have three sizes: large shoppers, mid-sized zipper pouches, and coin purses in a variety of funky designs. (Prices: $15, $8, and $6)

To find out more information about Blue Q, visit their website or come in to the PONSHOP to see the new merchandise.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

PONSHOP Sketchbooks

For those who keep sketchbooks (and all you young artists better have a sketchbook!), we've got the perfect addition to your arsenal: PONSHOP sketchbooks include original stenciled designs on hand stitched books: (25) 7.75" x 5.5" sheets with cover. $25 each.

Each book is signed, titled and numbered by artist Gabriel Pons. Come by the shop and check 'em out!

Friday, October 08, 2010

"Splinters" Show in Richmond

October's "First Friday" in Richmond ushered in the much-anticipated "Splinters" show at 212 West Broad Street.
Glide Skateboards owner Brian Lopez teamed up with Richmond artist Hamilton Glass to showcase over sixty skateboard decks custom painted by regional artists. PONSHOP co-owner, Gabriel Pons, contributed several decks. His "Glide" custom is titled "Her Way of Praying#1" (below).

"Splinters" was sponsored in part by: Blueberry Delight, Art 180, Main Art Supply, and Spaghetti Project.

The show included some friends of PONSHOP too: Toni Hitchcock, Icy Grape Incident, Jeff Gulick, Hamilton Glass, Sean Donlon, Jeremy Simmonds, and Robb Burch.

Live Painting wall in effect...

Custom Glide deck by Sean Donlon

While in Richmond, I had a chance to peep the newly located Spaghetti Project (321 Brook Road, RVA)

A Few Of Our Favorite Things: October 8, 2010

We’ve just received a new batch of handmade feather earrings from “Bones & Things,” a designer based out of Oakland, California. The earrings range in color and design, some accented with reds and blues, others with more basic tones. Our intern Sarah’s favorite has long white feathers that hang down around the shoulders, topped off with an actual bone around the earring’s hooks. Bones & Things earrings are quickly gaining popularity, so be sure to stop in soon to grab a pair! (prices starting at $28)

We also have new soap scents from the 8th Street Soap Kitchen, located in Washington, DC. These soaps are handcrafted with all natural ingredients that will refresh and moisturize your skin. The one that smells like fresh baked pumpkin pie is our intern Michelle’s favorite this time of year because it complements the fall season. If you want to smell like a “Stud,” we’ve got a soap for you that’s infused with essential oils of cedar. Have trouble getting out of bed in the morning? “Awake” with its three different mint varieties would be a great addition to your morning and a new reason to get out of bed. There’s even a “fido-friendly” soap that’s safe for dogs. A scent for everyone and as the creator’s will tell you, “Good. Clean. Fun.” ($8 each)

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Skate to Create: September 2010

September's Skate to Create students managed to get their work done ahead of schedule, which earned them some time on the public wall in the backyard. In three 1.5 hour sessions, they designed their deck graphics, cut stencils, and sprayed their boards. Good work gentlemen, below are some pics:

Hunter (above) got a shot at some freehand spray painting while Tyler (below) hit up the wall with markers...

Check out Tyler's "monster" deck (above).

Hunter cut up one intricate stencil and used it twice for a drop shadow effect.

PONSHOP offers classes in Ceramics, Mixed Media, Street Art, Architecture, and Skateboard Design for children as well as Ceramics and Drawing for adults. Our classes run throughout the summer and through the fall. For a current class schedule, Click Here.

Adult Mixed Media Workshop: September 2010

This was one of the first adult mixed media classes held at the new PONSHOP location and I was really happy to work with such motivated and enthusiastic students. Using a variety of media including acrylic, paper collage, and stencils, they took on their own projects in a studio environment.

Shellie translated a graphite sketch of a cityscape into a mixed media collage.

Donna was interested in layering paper collage as a background and then drawing and cutting her own stencil form.

Shellie's work in progress (24"x24")

Donna used two layers of stencils as well as acrylic paint to complete her piece.

PONSHOP offers classes in Ceramics, Mixed Media, Street Art, Architecture, and Skateboard Design for children as well as Ceramics and Drawing for adults. Our classes run throughout the summer and through the fall. For a current class schedule, Click Here.