Josh Bashford (b. 1989) graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with Honours from the University of Canterbury in 2012. Since graduating Josh has been working as a full-time artist in his home studio in Little River and has exhibited regularly in both solo and group shows. Josh was mentored by senior Pacific artist Fatu Feu’u and they have exhibited together in Canterbury, Picton, Auckland and Samoa. Josh also volunteers as a youth worker and has been an arts mentor and tutor for the Tautai Trust’s ‘Fresh Horizon’ workshops, where he’s taught hands-on drawing, woodblock and printmaking techniques to high school students.
Josh’s highly expressive prints explore subjects from his local environment of Little River, including birds, fish, land and sea forms. Josh’s faith, including Christian themes and symbolism also feature strongly in his work, this is evident in prints such as Faith and Fanua, 2016. He frequently employs a monochrome or limited colour palette, which highlights the patterned nature of his works. Josh draws from a range of sources to create his images, including art books and magazines, family photographs and online sources. He is also a keen observer of his environment, he has said
My work is heavily inspired by the landscapes I pass through especially around the waters of Lakes Forsyth and Ellesmere. I have grown up around these lakes, fishing in the local river and have spent hours waiting, watching the changes of light and movement, miles away in thought.
His vast woodblock prints are intricately carved, and feature diverse motifs. In Faith and Fanua, Otautahi and Trust (all 2016), there is a strong sense of movement, with imagery appearing from the patterned ground. Of mixed Palagi and Samoan heritage, Josh’s work is also informed by his culture and connection to Samoa. In 2012 Josh participated in an art programme and exhibition project titled Return to Hawaiiki in Samoa, where six artists and a curator traveled to Samoa to spend a week with artist Fatu Feu’u and created work inspired by their journey and experience. They also shared their skills and knowledge through teaching, demonstrations and workshops. Josh worked with Fatu Feu’u again in 2013 in an exhibition at The Diversion Gallery in Picton and in an exhibition Island Brothers (July – August, 2012) at Little River Gallery. The gallery website described the partnership as
Two artists, two generations, each using the common threads and rich tapestry of their native Samoa to tell their own stories, their own way. Colours, textures, symbols of a romantic Pacific paradise, and the translocation of that heritage from Samoa to their respective adopted homes, Ponsonby and Little River.
Josh’s work has been displayed in a number of galleries in New Zealand. Including the Little River Art Gallery, Chambers Art Gallery in Christchurch, the Diversion Gallery in Picton, Auckland and Samoa. Exhibitions include Sole Extraction at Little River Gallery in 2014. A recent exhibition and an exhibition of woodcut prints at PG Gallery 192 (2016). His work is also included in numerous private collections. Josh was also a finalist in the prestigious 2016 Wallace awards.