@TotesFerosh Is Our Latest Instagram Winner!

Posted on 30 May 12:17
As we kick off Pride Month, please congratulate our latest Instagram winner, @TotesFerosh! Josh is a Queer artist based in Chicago, who specializes in hand cut linoleum prints. His work is bold, stylized and celebrates the people, voices and stories of the LGBTQ community.


What's your art background? Are you a full time artist?
I've been drawing ever since I was a kid. I'm a UX designer by day, so my art creation typically takes place after work hours or on weekends. It's challenging finding the energy to continue creating after a long day designing, but I love my artwork, so it's worth it. The pandemic has given me so much extra time to spend on my art, so I'm appreciative of having a great hobby to spend time inside doing.

What's your art background? 
I studied art and design at College for Creative Studies in Detroit, but I have been doing art forever. 




What's your favorite medium?
My signature medium is linocut. I have been drawn to the meditative nature of hand carving linoleum blocks ever since I was a teenager. The style of linocut it very stark in contrast and reminiscent of the illustrative style used in comics. My work and aesthetic are largely influenced by a childhood infatuation with superheroes and anime, specifically intensified during my time living in Japan. These characters often present one significant trait which ostracizes them from society, not unlike many Queer people.




Why do you feel drawn to make art?

In Chicago, I've struggled finding other Queer artists. I know they are out there, but they aren't in the mainstream gallery scene. As someone beginning to be known in that scene, I feel like it's my responsibility to make a statement with my work. I don’t want to speak for the entire community, but I'd like my presence to feel like an invitation for other Queer folx to attend. My Man Up series was really my first introduction into that. I initially produced that series for a high profile show which I knew would see at least 1000 visitors on opening night. This platform was a great opportunity to speak for the unheard and amplify the voices who are often censored or not asked to show in these sort of gallery spaces. Generally, this series was a huge hit. At the show, I gave out free mini prints of the pieces, and every so often, I come across a photo of an artists' studio who has one hung up, or I meet someone who says "Oh YOU'RE the artist that made that?"

 



What does your process look like? 

My work highlights my signature linocut style as the key medium. Each subject of my work is carved by hand from a block of linoleum, taking up to 20 hours per block. I then ink each carving and press them into paper using a hand-operated press, revealing unique multiples. Once cut out and prepped with a sealant, the linocuts are assembled on cradled pine wood panels and adorned with a colorful assortment of acrylics, charcoals, and other media. Lastly, I pour the ArtResin mixture on top of each piece, encasing all components under a dazzling, hyper-glossy surface.






What was it about resin that attracted you?
I discovered resin fairly recently and by accident. I had the idea to collage my linocuts with mixed media on a wood panel, but the linocut felt a bit disjointed from the panel, so I explored several ways of making the piece feel more cohesive while also being protected from UV light. The ArtResin finish on my linocuts really enhances each piece and has become somewhat of a signature look in my arsenal of work.




How did you come up with the name TotesFerosh?
My artist name @TotesFerosh may seem silly, but it has a lot of meaning to me. It is representational of a time when I was first welcomed into the gay community in Detroit where I grew up. As a shy and not-so-confident 19 year old, I nervously took my first trip to the gay bar. I walked in very unsure of myself. Was I too gay? Was I not gay enough? Was I too twinky? Until I was greeted by a new friend who exclaimed "Oh you look totes ferosh tonight!" (totes ferosh, meaning totally ferocious). This really stuck with me. It told me that this was a safe place and I could be my true self and even be celebrated for it. I had never felt this way before. And I've felt this way ever since.

 

Where can we find your work?
I sell illustrated gifts and apparel on my Etsy shop and my debut solo exhibition My Dazzling Queer Fantasy opens June 4th in Chicago. It features resin coated linocut paintings of Queer characters as the stars of their stories. Using male-presenting folx as my subjects, my body of work explores a diverse selection of LGBTQ people who I’ve chosen in my dream world. Showcasing various identities and subcultures from my community, these portraits display Queer people whom I relate to and find beautiful. From burly beefcakes to fashion-forward trans guys, I showcase some ways in which Queer people are constantly reinventing what they find attractive and how they portray themselves. Through a super graphic style inspired by the comics and superheroes I love, I’ve created a world filled with all new dazzling characters. While some of them are bearing their masculine chests, others are posed with delicate illustrations, representing a spectrum of feminine and masculine energies found in Queer culture. I’ve paired these stark figures with expressive color palettes and illustrative iconography to further this contrast and give each piece a striking style.



To see more of Josh's work:
Follow him on Instagram:  @TotesFerosh
Visit his Etsy shop:
totesferosh
See his debut exhibit: My Dazzling Queer Fantasy opening June 4th at Elephant Room Gallery in Chicago. 

 

Congratulations on your win, Josh!

To celebrate all the amazing artists staying home and creating, every month we will be sending out a 32 oz kit to a couple of artists who have tagged us on Instagram—and we'll share their work with the world! 



Don't forget, tag YOUR ArtResin work with @art_resin on Instagram, and YOU could be our next winner!!


ArtResin:  Made For Artists, By Artists.