Josh Scheuerman is a bit of a departure from the common order; a sensational human with priorities precisely where they should be. There should be more like him in the world, truth be told. Josh is warmth personified and humanitarianism defined. He's also the wielder of a phenomenal beard, a super snowboarder, and the owner of an eclectic and varied collection of art that includes some pretty amazing paint-by-number. Last Friday, we checked out Art Adoption -- an event conceived and hosted by Josh to help local artists [including himself] find homes for work they have yet to sell. The bi-annual adoption gives him the opportunity to raise awareness and funds for non-profits while ensuring that the artists get 100% of anything they sell. Not surprisingly, this is only one of many undertakings for Josh that benefit the community, promote buying local, and support the arts. A magical human, by any definition. Read on and see for yourself...
Where did you get the idea for Art Adoption? I've been painting for 4 years, and have had a few solo shows in which I had shown some art, but not entire shows. I was trying to figure out how to raise money for a down payment on a house, and I discovered that I had a creative way to do it in my basement. I had 'orphan' art leftover from shows that was basically sitting, neglected, downstairs. I decided to host a show and sell it all of at a discounted price to clear my studio. I was just hoping to get my art into someone's loving home and, hopefully, make a little money.
How often does it happen, and how can people find details? The first year I started hosting it, we put one on every four months, but I thought that it might get blown out, so we're currently just doing a Spring Adoption and a Christmas Adoption. With everything going on in SLC, two per year is a pretty good format. I never try to compete with Gallery Stroll...plus, having one at Christmas will, hopefully, tempt people to purchase locally-made gifts instead of mass-produced goods. There's an Art Adoption Facebook page -- it always highlights current shows, participating artists, and info on sponsored events.
You're an artist yourself -- tell us about your work: I've dabbled in a lot of different mediums; pencil, paints, printing, journalism, photos. I've been painting with acrylics for the past 4 years, and I hope to move on to oils this summer. I'm fairly new to becoming an artist, but I've been creative my whole life.
How do you describe your artistic style? Americana. I grew up in Utah, and everything from my toys to the religion in which I was raised has shaped me into who I am today. Overall, I only know America, and those forces influence my art, be it old motel signs in SLC to bands I listened to growing up. I like to paint what I see, and hopefully, that translates into art. Some of my favorite artists just painted what they saw: Edward Hopper, Grant Wood, Thomas Benton, Normal Rockwell, and J.C. Leyendecker.
Do you have a particular creative process? Nearly every time I paint, it's from an idea I developed over a period of months. I produce 4 to 8 pieces on a particular subject, then I move on to another project. Each project has been unique. I really can't re-create those pieces. Acrylic is unforgiving, so I move on to the next idea.
Of all the cities in the world, why Salt Lake? I actually grew up in West Valley City, and I have great love for it. I knew I always wanted to be around the place that truly shaped me. When I first started adventuring into Sugarhouse in the early 90s, it was a very different place than it is today. It's been transformed into something very homogenized, but there are still places and people that make this the best place to live.
Who did you look up to as a child? The same person I look up to most now...my Mom. I have never met anyone as giving and generous with their life as she is with hers. I can only hope to capture that same charity in my own life.
Name some of your noteworthy addictions in life: Snowboarding, road trips, camping, reading, exploring, consumption [food and drink]. After all, it's the habits you need that shape the person you are.
I've teased that your personal mantra is something along the lines of, "Art! Skate Parks! Veggies!" -- but, really -- what's your single, outstanding mantra for life? Live in the moment. I have drained my bank account to make an adventure happen. I've put myself into some pretty hairy situations in order to accomplish a snowboarding challenge. Pursuing my passions has rewarded me. If you love something and you get the opportunity to pursue it, DO NOT HESITATE. Also, grow your own food, and try out a new hobby already...your old ones are old.
Favorite artist, favorite skater, favorite veggie: Edward Hopper, Rodney Mullen, and peppers.
Do you have any pet peeves? At the moment, it's aggressive drivers and people that litter. I think we were all raised with a sense of responsibility to clean up after ourselves, so it infuriates me to see so much litter when I go running. Also, drivers on I-15 are homocidal.
What makes a particular space 'home' to you? I always have books and music with me wherever I go. In my car, I'm reading 3 things and listening to podcasts and music. At home, I have my art, music, books, and my wife. Those four will do me fine.
Do you have any hidden talents? I play guitar. Since I only do it for myself, it's pretty unknown.
Tell us how you feel about cats: I'm not sure why dogs came out on top of 'most popular pet'. I can let my cats out without a leash and they come back. I can leave them all day and not have to come home to walk them every few hours. Cats are loving companions that don't need the attention of an ADHD child.
Map out the best day of your life for us [past or future]: Have breakfast at The Park Cafe, order the Sherminator. Go up to Brighton and, hopefully, ride Millicent with a foot of fresh powder. Come down for lunch at Lone Star, followed by an espresso for dessert. Have dinner with my beautiful wife at Takashi, and cap it all off with a movie at The Broadway.
Name something you love about yourself: I love that I have kept a journal since I was 12 years old.
What are you looking forward to right now? Spending the summer in Spain with my wife.
Favorite band, favorite book, favorite movie: How about 3 of each? Favorite bands would be The National, Arcade Fire, and Conor Oberst. Favorite books would be The Gunslinger, Wind Up Bird Chronicles, and East of Eden. Favorite movies are Magnolia, Shawshank Redemption, and Forrest Gump.
You're a man of charitable gestures. What are some of them, and why do you do it? I personally operate three different charities, each for specific reasons. Art Adoption started 3 years ago as an event meant to raise awareness and funds for local non-profits, and to allow artists to make 100% of anything sold during the event. They spend a lot of time and money producing their work, and they should be rewarded for that dedication. Warm Buddies started as an idea I had while I watched the prices drop after the Christmas nightmare. I saw that brand new coats at Old Navy were being sold for $10. The first year, I spent $500 on coats and bought everything they had at 3 stores. Then I gave it to the Volunteers of America Youth Resource Center, Rescue Haven, and the Salt Lake Mission. Each year, I try to buy coats and get 'warm' donations to those in need. West Valley Skate Plaza is a project I've been working on for 10 years now. I grew up in WVC, and they still don't have a skatepark. The momentum is shifting, though, and I'm hoping that soon I can announce that the funds have been allocated and the project's shovel-ready [next spring].
Very favorite drink? Southern Comfort and 7-Up. So good, it's dangerous.
Last words? Anything we don't know? Everyone is more creative than they give themselves credit for, more generous than they give themselves opportunity for, and stronger than they think they are. Life is a beautiful challenge that's happening right now, not when you retire. We have to remind ourselves of that every day. Be surprised, smile, and learn EVERYTHING you can along the way.