The Canvas | Joseph Ferguson
11 February 2012
Joe Ferguson has been a psychotherapist for the last thirty years and is currently working with children and teens with chronic medical and mental health challenges. Joe loves reading and co-founded a men’s book club, 'The Richmond African American Men's book club', focused on exploring writers of the African Diaspora. He uses acrylic on canvas or acrylic on paper as well as digital work. He says, "I find my inspiration from nature, a concept, emotion, or my imagination".
What is your earliest artistic memory?
My earliest memory is that of my mother teaching me around four or five years old how to draw a chicken using figure 8.
Has your art or approach/method changed over the years and if so, how?
I am self-taught when it comes to art making. I believe I am still exploring and learning about art making both creatively, the style, and intellectually. Therefore, I believe everything I do is changing. I believe like as a psychotherapist I am most comfortable with being eclectic in forming a direction. For example, I at times paint, photograph, or digitally create a piece.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
My imagination, something that touches me emotionally, or something I want to challenge myself to create.
What is your biggest ambition as an artist?
To create something that makes a difference to me and that makes a difference to others.
If you could own any piece of artwork, what would it be and why?
As a teenager I read the story of Vincent Van Gogh 'Lust for Life' and later the correspondence between him and his brother. I feel some connection to him like I imagine many people feel. Therefore, anything by him would be okay for me.
If you could receive coaching/training from any artist (past or present) who would it be?
Again, Vincent Van Gogh, I believe he was more intuitive in his approach to art making, allowing for many factors to create a piece of work.
If you could have you artwork displayed in any gallery in the world, where would it be?
I have not thought of this, but I suppose one of the galleries in Washington, DC because it is near to where I live.
Who would you like to meet and what question would you want to ask them?
I meet many artists on artbreak.com (an international website) some are well known and some are like me just starting out. They give me feedback about my work. I suppose for me many questions would be related to understanding the process how to go about creating, what do you do, and how do you know what you have created is art or not art?
What is your most prized possession?
If this question refers to my work, then it is 'City of Spirits' (see image below). If it is an open question, then it is my health, an active imagination, and the support I receive in this new chapter of my life-art making.
If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?
I used to think it would be interesting to grow up in the 1930s but as I grow older I think this is the time for me to experience and it makes me who I am. Those times were the times for those who lived through them.
What do you consider the greatest invention of all time?
The computer as we know it today. It is a marvellous way to communicate across cultures and distance.
If you had the power to change something what would that be and why?
Nothing, it is what it is. I mean I would change what I am aware of that needs to be changed is the rational thing to do, but making changes what I cannot change is a form of beating up on myself, which at my age I have had enough of doing.
What is your favourite place?
My little one bedroom apartment.
What is your all time favourite movie or tv program?
"Africa Journal", a cable channel that looks at the progress and challenges of countries throughout Africa.
Can you tell us the title/author of the last book you have read?
"Perfect Peace" by Daniel Black.
What would you scribble on a wall of world’s greatest quotes?
Something my mother used to say: “A word to the wise is sufficient but you can’t tell a fool nothin'".
What are you most afraid of?
My father went blind after a brain tumor, it would be going blind.
What life lesson do you always stand by?
Determination and persistence will get you through the difficult times.
If you had to give art students today some advice, what would it be?
Look for teachers who can see the value in what you do and offer guidance specific to you and your vision.
Where on the web can we find you?
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