For this article I chose to interview another one of my coworkers, Josh Knight. Together we make up two of the several Teaching Associates within the Visual Arts department at Coastal Carolina University. Josh is a prolific portrait artist and an amazing visual arts instructor at the university. He is of indigenous descent, but that doesn’t define him, nor should it confine him to the title indigenous artist. The fact that Josh is of indigenous descent just adds to my yearning to celebrate another amazing person as we head into National Native American Heritage Month. I sat down with Josh to ask him some questions that I feel are interesting.
Bruce Maggi: Where are you from, what is your background, and how does that affect your work?
Josh Knight: I am from Dillon, South Carolina, born and raised. At an early age I was placed in the foster care system with my siblings and bounced around a few homes. My early childhood and lack thereof have shaped me and my artistic interests in several ways. I have always been drawn to the portrait and that may be a lack of connection with family and people at an early age.
BM: Who are your biggest artistic influences?
JK: My biggest artistic influence has always been the old master, but I am particularly inspired by excellence in all forms of life from sports, music, and art.
BM: Tell me about your favorite medium.
JK: I cannot really pinpoint a favorite medium, but now, I am really enjoying watercolor, graphite, charcoal, and oil paint. Separate not together.
BM: How long have you been creating art and what inspired you to start?
JK: I have been creating art all my life but was never serious about it until the 11th grade of High School. My art teacher at the time believed I had talent and pushed me to continue art.
BM: Where do you find inspiration?
JK: I find inspiration in everyday life and culture. Inspiration is always available; we just must be willing to see it.
BM: What motivates you to create?
JK: For me, I am motivated from seeing others create and from self-motivation. One day I wish to be one of the greatest to do it, and that drives me to continue to grow and get better.
BM: Do you and if so, how do you express your culture through art?
JK: Since I was placed in foster care at an early age, I was not able to experience my Native American culture, so now I use art as a vehicle to explore what was or never was through relationships of composition and subject matter.
BM: As an art professor, what is one of the main things you try to convey to your students?
JK: The biggest lesson I try to convey to my students is to get to your money’s worth and obtain as much knowledge as you can while you can and to never let anyone out work you.
You can follow Josh on Instagram @ joshknight_art.
Bruce Maggi is a Teaching Associate at Coastal Carolina University where he teaches courses in art history and Indigenous cultures of North America.