Joshua Uvieghara Interview by Louise Cameron

I met with the artist, Joshua Uvieghara on the 11th march 2016. His studio is on the fourth floor of the Phoenix building in Brighton, where natural light floods in, and his work covers every available surface. The building is home to over 100 artists working in all disciplines, and as such, is a hotbed of creativity and an inspiring place to work. I set about discovering more about him, his background, training, influences, and working practices.

Louise  When did your interest in drawing and painting begin?
Joshua  My mother was an artist, and in the 1950’s, she studied under Paul Delvaux, the Belgian surrealist painter known for painting female nudes in incongruous situations. She was also an art teacher, and I was fascinated by her paintings which hung around the house, and also by the reproduction prints of paintings by Van Gogh and Chagall, showing her interest in post Impressionism and early modernism. I was always asking questions which, as a teacher, she would answer with patience and clarity, although there was no expectation for me to become an artist. I continue to ask these questions, but now, only by drawing and painting, do I find answers.

Louise  What was the atmosphere like at art college - was it free and creative, or were you expected to follow a more formal training?
During my foundation year, my teachers were determined to make me learn by the book, particularly in terms of technique. However, having grown up with a mother who was an art teacher, I felt frustrated. I genuinely didn’t think I was learning anything new. I was argumentative and surly (arrogant perhaps, in hindsight!) and decided to leave midway through the year.

Louise  Did you pursue further education in art from that point?
As a mature student, I applied to do a BA in painting and printmaking at the University of Brighton. The atmosphere was much more free and creative. During my second year, I went on an exchange to Alfred University in upstate New York, taking credits in painting, neon sculpture, Philosophy of art, photography and printmaking. I was given a studio space where I began to bring all these disciplines together into some kind of total experience. Going to America, together with an extensive study of printmaking during my degree, helped me to develop the concept of collage and assemblage, and it is a vital ingredient that continues to inform my work. I then went on to do an MA, also at the University of Brighton.

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