Joshua Petker is a 27 year old artist straight out of LA, California. His vibrant style of graffiti art mixed with classical and sometimes gothic portraits of beautiful and attractive women have made him one of LA's hottest urban artists that everybody is talking about. I (Aaron) am a huge fan of his art (as is Megan) and was lucky enough to grab an exclusive interview with the man himself. Special thanks to Joshua for the interview. Enjoy! When did you first realize that "art" was a possible career path for yourself? Well, the realization that made a difference was when I became certain (and comfortable) with the notion that I was an artist and would create for the rest of my life no matter the success. That freed me to have a day job to pay my bills so I could create art in the evening without the pressure of being a starving artist. And so I've always had my art career on the side until it was able to make it my full-time gig. Was it hard to get recognized for not having an art school education and did you find yourself scrutinized by others? No, actually it has never been a problem. I do think a few more doors would have been open to me at the beginning had I of had the attention of a professor to guide me or something... but, no one has ever unfairly judged me for it. If the art is high enough quality it shouldn't matter your background. Primarily your paintings are of women. What is the reason for this? Well, I am tremendously interested in beauty and am extremely influenced by the work of Gustav Klimt. I started painting by emulating some of his paintings and have never steered far from this original theme. I do think women can express emotion more colorfully than men and my paintings are about emotion and beauty and so women became, for me at least, the most natural thing to paint. What is your favorite medium to work with when creating a new piece, paint, pencil, mixed? I usually just start with a rough pen/pencil drawing and then start to work with the paint. I feel I actually draw better with the paint... if that makes sense. Would you say that each of your portrait pieces can tell or have personal stories attached to the person in them? Is this intentional? I hope all of my paintings contain a bit of mystery and cause for intrigue. I have feelings about all of them but I honestly want people to take away from them whatever suits them. What is the key to never getting tired of doing what you do? a psychotic drive to achieve? lol I don't know. Do you draw live models or work from photographs? I work from photographs. I have models pose for photos but I also utilize photos from magazines as well. What is the LA art scene like? Was it hard for you to be excepted into the community? Well, this city probably has like 5-10 art scenes. But, I love Los Angeles. This city is mostly made of people who move here to get famous so people are welcome to all really. Of course there is snobbery in some circles but that is part of the overall charm of the city. Does music influence you at all? Yes. I listen to music 24/7. I paint to my ipod on shuffle all day and all night. I love music. Where or from whom do you draw your inspiration? There's a Belle and Sebastian lyric where he sings, 'Make something pretty while you can, don't fall asleep.." and, that always strikes me as romantic. I don't believe in God or souls. But I love being alive and am a fan of the universe. I know death is coming but i want to leave a garden of beautiful work in my wake. That's motivation for inspiration for me. Be sure to check out more of Joshua Petker's work on Myspace and his Official Website.