Josh Jordan

Artist Statement

Josh Jordan’s work examines how pop culture has informed his identity, both in codes of behavior as well as in ideation. Through the mediums of painting, video, and sculpture Jordan explores the way in which an engagement with pop cultural influences has shaped his psyche. His work combines an elaborate fantasy with poignant autobiographical events. Each work is seen as an ongoing storyboard chronicling this extended narrative from childhood to adulthood.

Jordan’s paintings explore the themes of a childhood tendency toward dreams, melodrama, and infatuation. The imagery found in his paintings is an amalgamation of childhood influences; directly referencing blockbuster films and album covers, as well as magazine photo shoots and early music videos. Tension between fantasy and reality is created by combining and remixing the lowbrow, historic, and high art elements with personal photos.

These themes crystallize in Jordan’s painting The Number One Son. In this painting a theatrical stage is set and bolstered by references to a grade school photo, a classical altarpiece painting, and the comic book-style characters of KISS. The convoluted fantasy of an adolescent unfolds against a classical backdrop painted in a Mannerist style. Luminous light is cast on the centralized figure of an apprehensive child holding a basketball. To increase the stakes and to heighten the drama, exaggerated salacious figures with KISS painted faces are shown in shadow circling underneath this timid heroic figure. Although these sirens seem to be aware of the child, the child remains determined with his task at hand. Like the actors in films and bands that Jordan’s work references, his art expresses multiple levels of realness, none of which are absolute.

Taking on the medium of his influence, Jordan has created a trilogy of music videos that chronicle his life. This trilogy binds adolescent allegories with that of a hapless dreamer’s vision for transcendence as an adult, whether it be someone who comes to a large city or new country seeking to fulfill their life’s goal, or anyone living outside of their desired context looking in through the lens of international pop culture, mythology, folklore, and legend for heroic archetypes to identify with. Examples of Jordan’s sculpture, including his JOSH Guitars, JOSH Trophy and JOSH Varsity Jacket, is made with industrial-level craftsmanship. These sculptures also double as stage props for the music videos, which aid in actualizing his projected fantasy.

In the age of the Selfie and the creation of the online Alter-Ego, Jordan’s work exemplifies a re-representation of the self. Jordan presents himself as the central protagonist within an expanded narrative to expose/reveal his desires and fears, in order to call attention to the fragility of the self. His work expresses earnestness at the inevitable failure to reconcile his childhood dreams and expectations with the challenges and consequences of adulthood.