Exploring Artistic Expression: An Interview with Artist Joe Goldsmith

Last year we had the chance to meet Josiah (Joe) Goldsmith, and quickly formed a relationship and knew it would be great to collaborate on a project at some point. Joe has a captivating style that blends the romantic and Arts and Crafts movements. With roots spanning England and Korea, Joe brings a unique perspective to his work in art, illustration, and design. We had the chance to quiz him on what makes him tick, discussing his views on developing one's style, sources of inspiration, and thoughts on the intersection of art and technology. Along the way, we'll also spotlight Joe's recent illustrations created for our participation in the Classic Car Boot Sale.


Hi Joe, could you introduce yourself?

Hi Illya! Sure, I’m an artist based between England and Korea. For the most part I illustrate for fashion and lifestyle brands.

How difficult is it to develop your style as an illustrator?

Joe: I think it’s only difficult when you force it. Rather than trying to develop a ‘style’, per se, it’s better to just follow the things that interest you. The more of these things you incorporate into your work, the less it’ll look like any one individual’s work, and the more it will look like your own.

Ultimately that’s all artistic expression is: taking things you find interesting, and sharing them with the world. Chances are that other people will find those things interesting too.

Regarding my work, specifically, I think what I want to try next is something simpler, and more narrative-based. Working with Blackhorse Lane Ateliers recently was a bit of a turning point for me.


Can you share some of the things that inspire you?

Joe: My work’s been called ‘romantic’, and I think that’s a pretty apt description. My favourite art historically is romantic - love letters; ‘The Kiss’ (either Klimt’s or Hayez’); children’s stories and fairy tales. Dating long-distance at the moment has been a driving force behind my work.

I think the brands I work with are another obvious answer. My work and my wardrobe are both expressions of my Self. But I guess clothes can also be a sort of a uniform or disguise? Clothes aren’t the main thing for me. More often than not the people behind the brand are the reason I’ll wear a particular item of clothing.



We share a love for William Morris, can you tell us what first interested you about him?

William Morris pioneered a branch of Art Nouveau called the ‘Arts and Crafts movement’, founded on the belief that traditional techniques couldn’t (and shouldn’t) be replaced by technology. This isn’t to say that Morris didn’t make use of technology - he pioneered several printing techniques - but the human hand is always evident in his work, intentionally and beautifully so.

You have shared some sentiments about AI technology infiltrating the creative spheres, do you think it’s possible to artistically co-exist with this new reality which is dawning on us?

I think it’s useful as a tool, but that it shouldn’t erase humans from the artistic process. When I was a kid in school I was told that robots would replace the jobs that people don’t WANT to do, to allow people more time to pursue things like the arts. In reality, the arts are the first thing to be affected by AI.

On the other hand, I think AI could be interesting as a tool. I read about an artist recently who uses AI to generate ideas at the beginning of his process, before painting and expanding upon these ideas on canvas.

Am I worried about AI? Not really. I think it’ll replace the kind of work that most designers don’t even particularly want to do. So I suppose in a very small sense what I was told in school was true? I think now is the perfect time to lean into making things with our hands, as the desire for the human and imperfect will only increase as art and design become more clinical.


You have created two illustrations for our Classic Car Boot Sale participation, can you tell us about the creative process for them?

My process is something I’m constantly figuring out. I used to think it would take me a year or two and then I’d just be knocking out piece after piece in a consistent style, which works for some people! I think more recently though I’m learning to just enjoy the process, and to think less about the commercial applications of my work and more about just making work I think is interesting.

Although I identify as an artist above all, I’m quite methodical and there’s a definite sense of ‘craft’ to my work. My work almost always begins with a sketch on scrap paper, which I then move to the prepared surface. In this case, I worked on paper, drawing with steel-nibbed technical pens. One of the pieces was coloured using watercolours, and the other was coloured digitally (partly to allow for specific printing processes, and partly to experiment).

I’d like to embrace digital tools more in my process, but only when I think they’re the best tool for a specific effect. Ultimately, if I’m making something with my hands, I’m happy.


 To find out more about Joe and his work please visit his website josiahgoldsmith.com or his Instagram @thejosiahgoldmith

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