Joshua Jenkins with his art. | Courtesy of Joshua Jenkins
Joshua Jenkins with his art. | Courtesy of Joshua Jenkins

Louisville artist Joshua Jenkins is one of the lucky few. He’s self-employed doing what he loves — creating. Most likely you’ve seen his funky murals on the walls of Nowhere/Somewhere Bar in the Highlands or the Goss Avenue Kroger, or viewed his art at various galleries around town. The New York native has lived here for five years now.

According to Jenkins’ artist statement, creating art is therapeutic for him, a way for his soul to communicate with the world.

"State of Unrest" by Joshua Jenkins
“State of Unrest” by Joshua Jenkins

“This theory is what innately drives me to create, because I feel as though I have to for my own well being,” he says. “Like many artists, I use art as a source of therapy — coping with day to day stresses, romances, my sexuality, my childhood and my ongoing struggle with institutional religion.”

Jenkins also admits to being a voyeur of life. He observes people and their emotions — and is inspired by both.

“I tend to feed inspiration to myself from others’ emotional distresses and lives,” he explains. “Ultimately, my work is not to create art at the expense of my own or others’ miseries, but rather to shine a light on the commonalities between us all — being that we all feel similar emotions.”

Jenkins has a small gallery in Portland where he creates most of his pieces. And while he’s currently included in a few group shows around town, including “Touched With Fire” at Kaviar Forge Gallery, he’s got a solo show now at Lexington’s New Editions Gallery titled “Figurative Abstractions.” It runs through Sept. 3.

Before Jenkins embarks on his next project, he took some time to answer seven very important questions …

What’s the most surprising thing on your Bucket List?

I’ve always told myself that after I established a successful career as an artist, I would get into movie directing. It’s one of my dreams to write and direct an indie film. Aside from my passion with painting, I’ve always dabbled with writing here and there — although never actually finishing a script due to the reality that it would never get made into a film anytime soon.

What poster was on your wall in junior high?

The only PG-rated poster of Carmen Electra we could find.
The only PG-rated poster of Carmen Electra we could find.

I shamefully had my room plastered with Blink 182, Linkin Park and New Found Glory posters (to name a few), and, of course, I can’t forget about my Carmen Electra poster I hung on the back of my bedroom door. Considering I’m gay, it’s laughable to think about now.

If you were mayor, to whom would you give the key to the city?

If I were the mayor … That’s a funny thought, but let’s say we lived in alternate universe (and I actually was mayor), I would probably have to give the key to my best friend, Aaron Guldenschuh. When you talk about a valued member of the community, he is always the first in my mind. I have never met someone so passionate, intelligent and selfless. He is currently the executive director of AIDS Interfaith Ministries (AIM), and I have countlessly seen him bend over backwards for his job and the Louisville community in general. He is someone I highly respect, and I truly believe he deserves such an honor.

What are your preferred pizza toppings?

When it come’s to pizza, I think there should be only one topping, and that’s pepperoni (and maybe extra cheese). I don’t know if it’s from being raised in the Northeast, but all these deep-dish pizzas with all those toppings just ruin my nostalgia of good ol’ fashion pizza pie!

If you could be any age for a week, what would it be?

I would have to say 21. It was such a primal age in my life that was filled with so much excitement and gave me that innocent euphoria of feeling like a true adult — you know, before the reality of being an adult actually sets in.

What famous person do people say you resemble the most?

I have to be honest on this one. I don’t get many people saying I resemble so and so. The times I do remember was a little kid saying I looked like Justin Bieber and another time some girl asked me if I was “this dude in that one band.” Being that neither of those are good answers to this question, I decided to ask close family members and friends to find out what famous person they think I resemble the most. Unfortunately, their answers were all over the place, and, in my opinion, were idiotic. Their responses were: Shia LaBeouf, Tobey Maguire and Bradley Cooper.

Trouble, trouble, trouble, trouble on an elevator.
Trouble, trouble, trouble, trouble on an elevator.

Who would you most like to be stuck with in an elevator?

I hope the day never comes that I get stuck in an elevator, but if I did, I think I would like it to be with Ray LaMontagne. He just seems like an interesting person to be stuck in an elevator with — that, and his voice would ease my stress of being stuck in a damn elevator.

Sara Havens is the Culture Editor at Insider Louisville. She's known around town as the Bar Belle and updates her blog (barbelleblog.com) daily. She's a former editor of LEO Weekly and has written for Playboy and The Alcohol Professor. Havens is the author of two books: "The Bar Belle" and "The Bar Belle Vol. 2."


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