There is a reason that the Red Curtain exists on airline flights. Yes, it does give off a feel of luxury and prestige but that isn’t the only thing it provides. One of the main functions is to limit exposure from any one who isn’t on the proper side of the flowing cloth. Because if you were to vividly see how First Class lives, a natural line of questioning would occur. Why can’t I have free Champagne during my flight? How can I have that experience? The thing about exposure is it creates a Diversity of thought in you to make it almost impossible to return back to life without it. You’re forever changed because you know other ways of living are available. Josh Lafayette is a product of a constantly diversifying mind. Which is one of the main reasons we sought him to be the first member of our debut program, Ink Test.
“Ink Test” is a initiative built to invite artists from the Atlanta community to create in a new medium and give them an opportunity to market their work to their fans.
Me and Josh met in inside Elevator Factory in Grant Park against a slightly overcast day where I found him in the mist of a transitional period. In Atlanta, a place he swore off as a young teenager in small-town Alabama, he has just accepted a full-time job for the first time in a few years and the recent political and social climate has effected some of his creative output. “My son was born a few days before Mike Brown was shot and it…” But I quickly discovered that this transitional period wasn’t weird or something beyond the norm, this was apart of his foundation. Josh is constantly listening and then responding to new input he takes form a variety of places.
Trying has been at the center of every grand turn towards this moment in Josh’s life. Not just the glory of persistence but of his loving commitment to his self to expose the truth and knowledge in grained in the experience of. The diversity of thought is key to understanding his work, life, and vision. During our conversation, Josh revealed to me, in confidence, the WIDE (and I mean wide) variety of hairstyles his head has held over the years.
The buzz cut, the Knotty Locs during his teenage years, the Bright Red Mohawk he sported in his Pre-Med Dentistry pathway, and even the Side Buzz and Artfully flipped Cut he sports now. All are tales of a man unafraid to pursue something he’s interested in. Even if it causes laughter and a general sense of confusion from his audience. Its the Process of getting to what he wants that matters the most.
“And I said… Oh shit. They can do that and I can’t.”
A Process that started with his and a universal love of the great Italian dish, pizza. Ever since Josh was young, he has always had a deep love for drawing. Something that still pulls at him til this day. But early on teachers and his own observations of his skill in opposition to his counterparts brought him to the brink of leaving it all behind. “ I studied design in undergrad and loved drawing, But I got it in my head as a kid that I wasn’t good at drawing. And that you either were or you weren’t. Or that you were born with it. Cause like I loved to draw and would draw all the time but I see kids who were really good at technical realism. And I said… Oh shit. They can do that and I can’t. “
As much of a saving grace a hot slice of pizza can be at a late-night college kickback, Pizza found the same sense of solace for Josh. To develop, and simultaneously mask, his drawing skills he drew the self-proclaimed easiest thing to draw, Pizza. As he mentioned during our talk, a pizza is just made up of 3 simple shapes. A triangle of cheese, a couple circles of pepperoni, and a long rectangle of a crust can illustrate the dish. “If you try to draw a person and you try to draw a likeness. Say you try to draw Madonna. If you don’t don’t draw her right, people will say that’s not Madonna. But you really can’t mess up a piece of pizza. People are going to get it.”
But you really can’t mess up a piece of pizza. People are going to get it.”
After dedicating 4 Years in Boston to working on building up his craft with daily drawings, and a hefty Masters in Illustration, he saw improvement in his skills and found his pen’s voice. Something he truly dedicates to the wide of amount of people who littered his journey. Josh said, “I feel everything I know, has, and has been influenced and came from other people. I didn’t do all of this shit.” This is something that you can find in his artwork. Most of his colorful drawings include the products of human hands, the beautifully delicious foods of American cuisine.
His yearning for seeing diverse ways of living even led him back to Atlanta, a place that’s constantly growing. And constant growth is all Josh has worked for. In his view, the only way to truly grow is to introduce yourself to the ideas your passions led you to. Being open to the diversity of people, ways of operating, and most important thought, led him back to his dream of being an artist. His piece for Danger’s Ink Test project is a testimony to this very idea…
“Everybody can draw. The way you draw a line is your style.” – Josh Lafayette
Now that is dangerous.
Purchase Josh’s Dynamite Tee right… HERE.