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Meet Joshua Solas of Solasink in Pico Robertson

Today we’d like to introduce you to Joshua Solas.

Joshua, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I’ve always had a love for art and creating things. As a child growing up in Jamaica, if I wasn’t drawing I was taking my toys apart and putting them back together or making something new out of them. I moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan to study Illustration and Graphic Design where I was able to get involved in the art scene showing work around the city. In my junior year I became part of the Cultura Collective. The collective’s ultimate goal was to tell the stories of the unheard through art. In 2017 we entered ArtPrize, a yearly international art competition hosted in Grand Rapids and were finalists. Around the same time, I began painting murals and working with recording artists creating their cover artwork and lyric videos. Some of the people I’ve had the privilege of working with include Jamaican artists – Tessellated, ZacJone$ and Protoje. After college, I teamed up with Bryan Kosciolek to initiate The CHR33DOM Project, a conceptual art project focused on discussing topics of community and our quest for a better world through art and design. We’ve held two well-attended events so far in Michigan and are now seeking to expand.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I’ve been able to find my saving grace in my works. I’ve had a lot of help from family and friends, but if I wasn’t able to make art I’m not sure where I’d be.

I definitely was a bit consumed by how lost I felt post-graduation but was fortunate enough to travel for a little and soon after made Los Angeles my new home. At the same time however things were different and adjusting proved to be difficult at times. On top of that being an immigrant in this political climate meant navigating the immigration system but thankfully with good help from family it is now taken care of.

I also dealt with a bit of imposter syndrome when I first moved to Los Angeles. I had a hard time shaking it and going about doing what I needed to do. I came to realize that the fact that I’ve already put myself in the position to make my own path, all there is left to do is execute the plan and everything else will fall into place.

SOLASINK – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
SOLASINK is an art brand focused on visual storytelling. With experience in creating cover art, merchandise and animations for recording artists, logo design for businesses, murals and photography in the US and Jamaica, I take pride in being able to tell people’s stories in the best ways possible. Last year I had the privilege to work with Grammy Nominated artist Protoje and created cover artwork and the lyric video for “No Guarantee” featuring Chronixx off his most recent album “A Matter Of Time”. 

At The CHR33DOM Project’s most recent event we posed the question “What do you need?” We invited people to reconsider the question by handing out questionnaires. Once filled out, we then asked everyone to draw on the walls. I liken the act of drawing on the walls to the naivety of childhood, or to a child acting out; but also to cave paintings which were how people communicated with each other and learnt about their environment. Sharing our needs with each other and learning other people’s need makes it easier for all of our needs to be met. Also seeing each other’s needs on the wall shows that we all have similar needs, like the need for love or comfort, or the need for food and shelter no matter how we look on the outside, and that’s more reason to more deeply connect with the people around us.
Earlier this summer, as Tessellated’s graphic designer, I created the animated visuals for his performance in Jamaica at Reggae Sumfest – the largest music festival in the Caribbean. I have always aspired to do set design for big festivals, so being able to do it with one of my best friends for a festival I have followed since I was a child was definitely a magical experience.   

I believe the versatility of our crafts set us apart. Whether a mural, cover artwork, event, photograph or animation, we believe that visual storytelling is an important part of existence and that it should be done well and with feeling.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
I believe that happiness has a lot to do with success. To me, the harmony between finding what makes you happy and making active steps towards that is true success. One can be successful in achieving goals based upon what society dictates success is, however, once one is aware of what they truly need and what makes them happy, it is then that they can fully succeed at whatever they set out to do. The answer to what we “truly need” may change as time goes on, but as long as we are happy with what we are doing, we will always be successful.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Whatdoyouneed_5-min – Carbon Stories, Solas_Spring_104 – Carbon Stories, 3-27-19_BernsteinsMass-1-min – Nick Belohlavy, All other images – Joshua Solas/ SOLASINK

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