Joseph Loughborough – Black Gold

Joseph Loughborough – Black Gold

By Arden de Raaij

Let’s take a walk on the dark side with the art of Joseph Loughborough (1981). UK bred but now based in Berlin, Joseph has acquired mad skills with charcoal over the years. His intense black and white works tend to suck the viewer in, or at least, that’s how we experienced it after going over his work for quite some time!

At the time of interviewing, Joseph had a show in Antwerp where he showed us some new stuff: ” ‘The Human Mine’ exhibition was the first time I have shown the gold leaf and charcoal pieces as a collection and was an opportunity to get a bit arty farty with the concepts behind the techniques –  The show went really well and I met lots of great people in the city. I hope to return there again soon.”

Joseph Loughborough - The Stranger
Joseph Loughborough – The Stranger

More than often, there’s already a hint of the direction in which an artist will go visible in childhood. As with Joseph. “Battle scenes were one of my favourite things to draw when I was a kid. The gorier the better! I would also write and illustrate my own horror stories and comics. This is from between 6 to 10 years old so I guess it’s pretty safe to say I have always been a keen creative. Although I think there were a lot of concerned school teachers around this time. Finding an old Egon Schiele book in my granddads bookshelf that I got pretty obsessed with, probably didn’t help either!”

Though Joseph Loughborough his main focus is the studio nowadays, he did had / has his phases of street work. Going through his Flickr account, some of the earliest work you can find is actually small, expressive work on the streets. Joseph: “This was about the time I fist really got the hang of using the Net and documenting what I was making (before that, it was just 35mm photos that I would develop at Jessops!).  Most of the street work I did was in Portsmouth around this time. Lots of ‘angsty’ black and white characters with Posterman markers, and tagging. These were evolutions from what I was making in my sketchbooks and bedroom studio at the time.”

“My main focus is in the studio. Many of my friends work on the streets and if I’m hanging out with them I will work along with them, but it’s been a long time since I have made any solo missions out! Perhaps when my next California show in October is under the belt, I will have a little more time to see what the streets of Berlin can inspire!”

“I would not say that I started out with making street work, but I have definitely been influenced by it along the way. I think forms of calligraphy or ‘tagging’ are still very evident in the gestural marks I make in my drawings. Perhaps my sketchbooks are a good point of reference to support this. It is  through skateboarding that I really have to thank for my initial encounters with graffiti and whatever you wish to categorise street/urban art as. This was both through my surroundings and also through my skate buddies, many of whom were also writers at the time. As a skateboarder it is hard not to absorb your surroundings in some way, architecturally and culturally. But I have always been just as influenced by what is considered more traditional and historical art.”

Joseph Loughborough - In the cave we dance
Joseph Loughborough – In the cave we dance

“How do I feel about the state of street art? Well I know it is getting a lot of stick from its commercialisation, but there are so so many great artists making spectacular works that I cannot help to feel continually impressed and humbled.”

Joseph his use of charcoal is very striking, which makes us wonder how he discovered charcoal worked so well for him. Joseph: “Pretty early on!” I think I have nearly always used it. Perhaps not always in the same way, but it has always been a must have in the studio. It is relatively cheap and you can cover large surfaces with ease. It is a great ‘Earthy’ material and lots of fun to make a mess with.”

Four by  Four - Joseph Loughborough
Four by Four – Joseph Loughborough

As artists need to relax too, and we’ve read that Joseph enjoys a good book, we had to ask what he was currently reading. “At the moment I’m reading a book by Alasdair Gray called 1982, JANINE. It is very dark and has some great psycho-sexual plot twists. Usually I have a few on at one time. A fiction, a non-fiction and some poetry of some kind. A short attention span, I guess. One recommendation that everyone can get there teeth into would be the two novels by Jonathan Safran Foer – ‘Everything is illuminated‘ and ‘Extremely loud and incredible close‘. Non fiction -give ‘Straw Dogs’ by John Gray a go. Some juicy nihilist philosophy but easy enough for me to read!”

Vienna 12 - Joseph Loughborough
Vienna 12 – Joseph Loughborough

And what can we expect from Joseph Loughborough in the future? Joseph: “Well aside from the October (2014) solo with Anno Domini Gallery in San Jose which I have already mentioned,  I will have new work in the Virtue of Fools show with ‘Intoxicated Demons’ and a joint show with Bael and Rob Sample in Manchester, UK. After that who knows…perhaps some paste-ups :)”

Joseph Loughborough - Cinema
Joseph Loughborough – Cinema

About Joseph Loughborough

Joseph Loughborough (b. 1981) spent his formative years exploring the derelict boatyards and creeks of Portsmouth, on the south coast of the UK. After graduating from Portsmouth University he pursued ...View profile