Lexington resident creates art with everyday objects
From sculptures to works of art, Josh Poole is determined to leave a mark on Lexington and the world beyond.
LEXINGTON – If you drink from a soda or beer can around Josh Poole, chances are he’ll ask you to use it when you’re done. The Lexington resident became known for the detailed mosaics he created in pewter, but his art went far beyond.
Poole, a full-time artist and a full-fledged local celebrity, is known around Lexington for his designs. Even though people haven’t met Poole, they’ve probably seen his work in the small college town. From the minute he wakes up until his head hits the pillow, Poole’s free time is focused on his art. From cartoon drawing to sculpture and writing, Poole has his hand in everything inventive.
Over four years ago, Poole made his first mosaic of soda cans. It was an iteration of “The Starry Night” by Van Gogh.
The piece consisted of a few thousand pieces, glued in place for about 100 hours. It sparked a frenzy that took hold in the best possible way. His most complete piece to date is a work depicting the 47 Ronin in a Hinamatsuri-inspired seven-level display. There are over 36,000 parts and over 800 hours invested in its current condition.
“I put it together over nine months and have been tinkering with it on and off since,” Poole said. “The base is poplar, but it’s encased in a cherry wood and acrylic glass case that alone took over 50 hours to create. “
‘There is a world where I go‘
For most, this big project can seem stressful. Poole admits it can be sometimes, but most of all, he loves his job.
“There is a world I go to when I sculpt or write. It is this marvelous limbo of the real and the imaginary that somehow replaces everything that happens in the background, ”he said. “At the same time, it’s not something I can stop.”
Now 25, Poole began his artistic career at a young age.
“I started with gag cartoons in elementary school,” Poole said. “I found myself falling for his incongruity, the way he distorts reality a bit and suddenly it’s humorous and captivating. “
Today, that captivating dynamism has propelled Poole into a world of design. In addition to his sculpted work, he also draws caricatures similar to those one might see in New Yorker Magazine. He publishes some of the drawings each month in a local digest. Poole is also known for his simultaneous drawing, where he draws with both hands simultaneously. He started registering in early 2020 and has racked up over a million views on TikTok.
“When I drew pictures for magazines and newspapers, I was always overwhelmed by the conundrum of coming up with ideas faster than I could draw them,” he said. “My solution was to learn to draw with both hands simultaneously. I could draw separate cartoons with either hand moving independently or create a single illustration very quickly.
If he doesn’t draw or sculpt, you might find Poole scratching his latest novel at his favorite haunt, Brew Ridge Taps, downtown. Poole has three completed novels. Now he is working on the fourth, fifth and sixth novels in a series with a co-author. He is also co-writing a play.
“In recent years, I’ve focused on writing a larger universe of urban fantasy and horror. [It’s] a loose interpretation of mythologies and cryptozoology that has just merged into more contemporary contexts, ”said Poole.
For Poole, the entire world around him is a canvas to explore. His inspiration comes from everyday life. For him, a gasoline pump is not a gasoline pump.
It’s “a giraffe head, and the octane level knobs are all speckles,” Poole said. “They can be cut into strips and laid out like a sunny post-impressionist sky.”
Poole finds passion in his work and enjoys giving it away, but he also sells it in the Lexington office Nelson Gallery.
“I was told I had to move there to make money with my job,” said Poole. “That may be true, but I grew up in this area and would rather go the extra mile to be successful here and attract money into the community than sell myself somewhere else and come back like a king coming back from their crusade with the spoils of war. ”
Building an audience beyond Lexington
In the long run, Poole dreams of first experiencing publishing success as an author. Then he hopes to use those connections to dramatically increase the value of his work to a more metropolitan audience.
“I hope the value of my work becomes significant enough that I can use significant sales to invest in the community here in Lexington,” said Poole. “[I want to help] with income assistance programs, developing and using my own connections to raise struggling artists who are just as talented as me but less fortunate. There is a lot of selfishness to unwrap there, but I think in the next 5-10 years I may be able to take a few steps towards that goal.
His latest sculpture project is a mosaic of downtown Lexington. He combined the faces of dozens of buildings into five structures on a 4 × 2 ′ board.
Poole creates commissioned works in addition to the gallery works he sells through commissions. For any serious request, he can be contacted at [email protected]