What does your artistic process look like?

This question always trips me up. I’m a very ‘spur of the moment’ type of person, so my artistic process changes constantly. The one thing that remains constant is the music I play. While creating my plywood art, I blast musical art created by artists such as Daniel Caesar, H.E.R., Garçons, Frank Ocean, Kirk Franklin, etc. It puts me in a mood I can’t even explain. Once the mood is set, I’m allowed to create from the soul. I try my hardest to approach each photo I create and each art piece individually. Doing so forces me to stay on my toes when it comes to creating and ensures that I don’t repeat myself.

Topp by Joel Nunn-Sparks

Has your practice changed over the past several months?

If so, how?

COVID has definitely affected my practice (as I’m sure it has affected everyone else’s as well). I haven’t created as much as I would like during this, but I’ve tried to tighten up my business practices and learn some new skills. A while back I stopped creating videos to focus on photography, but I’ve picked up a video camera again, so we’ll see where that leads.

Reka Robinson by Joel Nunn-Sparks

When did you know art would play a major role in your life?

I would say I am still on that journey. Art plays a huge role in my life because I am consistently trying to create, but I am still trying to find my lane in the art world.

Untitled by Joel Nunn-Sparks

Is there a moment you first remember identifying as an artist?

Photographers don’t really get identified as ‘artists,’ and while that’s a totally different subject, it contributed to me not seeing myself as an artist for a long time. I remember posting photos I created while in San Diego and someone commented something along the lines of, “Oh wow, this is art.” That forced me to look at my photography in a different light. Once I started creating my plywood pieces, my artistry just amplified. Photography alone is an art, and now I combine it with mixed media art to create ART art ;-)

Untitled by Joel Nunn-Sparks

Who inspires you?

My family is my biggest inspiration. They always have been, and always will be. On top of that, I try to surround myself with artists both in and out of my discipline. Saul Martinez, Madison Rosenbaum, David Vasquez, Ray Cástañeda, and Ayleen Wood are local artists that I follow very closely.

Into the blue by Joel Nunn-Sparks

What do you do when you are having a hard time finding the motivation to create?

I usually create my best work when I have zero motivation. Leaning into that misery forces me to develop an idea on the spot that in turn births something spontaneous and original. Either that or I sit back and watch 90s and 2000s era hip-hop music videos. Shout out to Missy Elliott.

Cool Chicago Beans by Joel Nunn-Sparks

What role do you think art plays in creating change?

Art can be the catalyst to so much. We have an opportunity, through art, to change perspectives, give context, and say what we feel without any words. Art, like music, is universal. We can change the world, we just have to believe we can and create with that goal in mind.

Cielo Garcia by Joel Nunn-Sparks

How can our community best support the arts?

In my opinion, this community could support artists in so many ways. Local businesses could allow artists to create thoughtful murals on their buildings, contract artists to display art inside, support local art galleries and nonprofits, just SHOW UP for the artists in this city. Invest in art for your home, or gift it to your homies. We need an arts education center here in the Tri-Cities, as well. A place where we can hold free classes for K-12 students to learn the importance of creating art, etc. It should be in Pasco (because that’s where I live :-) and when a business is ready to collaborate with me on this, I’m ready.

Alshon Jeffery by Joel Nunn-Sparks

What advice would you give to an aspiring artist?

This question is funny because I AM an aspiring artist myself. So, with that said, I’m looking into the mirror while writing this. I strongly believe that as artists we need to ingest art outside of our normal discipline constantly. Doing so creates a pocket in your brain that you can pull from at any time for your own personal work. When I take photos, I have the artwork of Jean-Michel Basquiat to reference for composition or the interior design work of my Mom to pull from. I grab from everywhere. Also, don’t be afraid to be yourself and push boundaries. Create work that feels good to your soul, not what you think everyone else wants to see. That’s played out. Lastly, believe in yourself. You are so much better than your ‘no motivation’ days or the times you feel like an ‘art-imposter.’ You got this. You ARE art, art is you. Trust the process and [you’ll] create magic!