Jul 12, 2013 3:56 PM by Dan Shadwell

Los Osos artist uses toy subjects to draw contrast

Los Osos artist, and New Orleans transplant, Josh Talbott, has a reputation for placing iconic images--sometimes children's toys like Lego figures--in positions of conflict and even danger.
While some works may seem whimsical,... Josh hopes you take a moment and look a little deeper.
"There are really loud ideas that you can't escape from," he says, pointing to a wall in his studio, crowded with bright canvasses, "... that really grab you and you're compelled to do them....and when you don't have them, you follow other secondary ideas and with every one that you follow to completion, you get four more... one that's often better than what you started with. "
As the grandson of a sign painter and son of an artist, it's hard to know whether Talbott chose art or art chose him. His work tends toward competing, almost contradictory ideas--some dark and foreboding--others more benign... even comic.
In one example, a honey bear honey dispenser, paws in the air, is held at bay by toy soldiers. Behind the bear, a fallen Barbie doll lies.
"What you see in these paintings is as much about you as what's in the painting."
"So, we shouldn't conclude that she was killed by carbs?" I ask.
"Well, you could there," he laughs.
In another piece, paint covers a collage made of hundreds of pages torn from books and magazine articles about the ocean. Josh displayed the massive 12x16 foot canvas dubbed, "For the Love of the Sea," on city streets during the debate over proposed underwater testing off Morro Bay, "...to draw people to critical thought," he explains.
"When you look at the issue of seismic testing, people say, 'oh, it'll be fine.' Well, do we know that?"
He adds, "Art has the ability to open up conversations with people... encourage people to look at the world in different ways and if there's anything that I would really like to achieve with my life, it's to encourage a sense of wonder."
You can see Josh's work during the Open Studios Tour coming in October.... and by appointment.
For more information, just logon to ksby.com and click on "links" on the homepage, or go to joshtalbott.com.



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