Mike has a good childhood friend named Josh Goldstein who lives in Brooklyn, New York. They were part of the (in)famous "EVP" rap group back in the day (don't try to Google it -- it was only big in their minds). Josh is an architect turned artist. A few days ago, I started noticing some chatter over on Facebook about Josh and a billboard in Times Square.
Turns out that Josh is one of four artists chosen to use his art to design a Target billboard to be on display in Times Square from Labor Day to Halloween.
Josh's design is the big red bullseye on the left:
From Josh's website, here's a close-up:
As if designing a billboard that will hang in Times Square isn't cool enough, when the display is over, Target will take the vinyl billboards and turn them into one-of-a-kind tote bags, available for purchase at Target.com/billboardbag for only $29.99! Order yours now, shipping is in January. You can choose which artist you want for your bag. Of course, I chose the Joshie G as I like to call it.
In the midst of all his high profile interviews with New York media, Josh was nice enough to do a little Q&A with me to share with all of you.
Q: You started out as an architect. How did you come to be an artist?
A: I think maybe I was always an artist in waiting, but putting that aside it basically started about 7 years ago when I began to photograph bodega signs on my bike rides around New York. Originally I wanted to put together a poster like those "Pubs of Ireland" ones, but my photos weren't good enough so I kept cropping them tighter and tighter until eventually I was working mostly with just individual words from the bodega signs - FRESH MEATS, COLD BEERS, HOT COFFEE. That kind of thing.
Q: Does your style of art have a name? Or is it just your own approach/interpretation?
A: It doesn't have a great name, and if anyone has any suggestions I'm all ears, but for now I usually call it Sculptural Photo Collage.
Q: What's a bodega?
A: In New York, a bodega is a corner store that's open late. I think there are more than 25,000 in the city. Originally they were Cuban or Puerto Rican owned but lately they tend to be run by Dominicans. They always have an impressive selection of beverage, alcoholic and not. But if you want vegetables you might be in trouble if you want anything other than avocados and onions.
Q: I know you primarily work off of bodega signs. Have you ever considered applying your style to other images -- say a picture of a person, for instance?
A: Funny you should bring that up - I've been thinking that might be my next move, exactly as you describe it. Are you some kind of a soothsayer?
Q: Obviously, NYC has been a major influence on your art. Could you do what you do in any other city?
A: I could definitely do it for any city - that would be fun. But New York would always infuse my work no matter where I am working. The city's intense layering, density, diversity, and visual chaos is constantly inspiring me.
Q: How did the Times Square/Target gig come about? Where did you put it together? How long did it take you?
A: The Target gig came out of the blue. It actually came about 3 days before I was planning to leave for Indiana for a week to visit my parents. So I ended up doing the bulk of the design on my parents' kitchen table in Owen County and in the Bloomington library. It took about 3 weeks.
Q: Is everyone on your Christmas, er, Hannukuh list getting a Josh Goldstein bag from Target this year?
A: If I can get through on their website.
Q: Will we still get a holiday card from you guys now that you're rich (in spirit at least) and famous?
A: Absolutely. I'm trying to convince my wife to go with all silhouettes this year. All 4 of us have very distinctive hair situations so I think you would know who's who. So far though I'm not making a lot of progress with her.