We had the good fortune of connecting with Joshua Moreno and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Joshua, do you have a favorite quote or affirmation?
“Beauty is a form of Genius–is higher, indeed, than Genius, as it needs no explanation.” Upon reading this in Oscar Wilde’s, “The Picture of Dorian Gray” I have considered in more depth, the role of beauty in my life and how it is used within my art practice. I would say my response to beauty is immediate and I take on a visually formalist approach when composing works as a method to pull people in…but also I can’t really help myself. I’m convinced I’m hardwired to go about making art with aesthetics always in mind and honestly I am kind of shy to admit this. There’s this common misnomer in contemporary art that if something is not beautiful, then it must be intelligent and if it is beautiful, then its beauty is what’s at stake. I respond to work that is both beautiful and intelligent. In fact, I feel beauty is most effective if it’s intelligent. Often, beauty is regarded as simply surface-level and uncritical, but there’s something undeniable about its efficacy which is self-evident in the way we respond to our surroundings, the things within our surroundings, and each other.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am an interdisciplinary artist working in installation, sculpture, filmmaking, painting, and drawing. In my practice, I am interested in exploring the overlapping relationship between the natural and manmade environment, with a particular focus on drawing attention to, and working with, naturally generating phenomena that happen within the context of daily life. After eight years of working in art education in San Diego, I decided to pursue an MFA in studio art. I applied to many programs and got into my top pick, Stanford, and I am currently in my second year in their studio art MFA program. As an artist, I am still working on establishing myself and learning every day what direction I want to take my work. I’d say that the most challenging time in my career was the year after graduating from UCSD with a BFA in studio art. The job market was tough, especially in my field so I joggled up to four part-time jobs (none relating to art) for about a year and a half. By a stroke of luck, I landed a job working at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego as a gallery educator which marked the start of my career in arts education.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
During the pandemic, I’d recommend checking out the exhibitions at Bread & Salt and ICE Gallery. They showcase art by a diversity of wonderful and talented artists and are open to the public by appointment. One of the neat things about “by appointment” visits is that they often give people the chance to meet with the artists exhibiting and/or the people who run the space. It’s a very authentic art experience. For some culinary fun, I’d suggest checking out Oslo Sardine Bar. The guy who runs it, Max Daily, is basically a national treasure and is as dynamic as he is charming. Depending on the state of the pandemic you can order takeout/delivery or dine in and take part in an immersive and participatory encounter with Max.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’d like to make a shoutout to all of my former students at High Tech High Chula Vista, La Jolla Country Day School, and Stanford University. Thank you for helping me grow each day we spent together and for motivating me to be a better version of myself. Your collective displays of kindness and compassion are a needed reminder of the good that can exist in this world.
Image 1 (Portrait in flowers) photographed by Karla Centeno