Ethical Metalsmiths Emerging Artist, 2014
Ethical Metalsmith Student Committee (EMSC): What was the catalyst to your decision to become a metalsmith?
Joshua Kosker (JK): I took an intro metalsmithing class during my sophomore year at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and immediately expressed an affinity for working with metal – it felt really intuitive. I initially responded to the malleability of the material, however, my ability to control the material in new ways is an ongoing dialogue that fuels my desire to continue exploring the field.
EMSC: What is the tool you love the most?If you could have one tool, that you don’t have already, what would it be?
JK: That is a tough question to answer. I like torches. Hammers, saws and drills are great, too. But, I love my hands. Since I currently don’t own a torch, I’m looking to purchase a Swiss torch in the near future. It’s a versatile tool that can accommodate a lot of applications, including my precision and interest in both large scale and small scale soldering.
EMSC: After receiving the EM award, how have you considered ethical practice?
JK: I try to recycle and preserve the everyday, both in my studio practice and the time spent in between. I am mindful of the expressive potentials for materials that I encounter through my day-to-day routines beyond the studio setting. I don’t discount the communicative abilities of any material, especially byproducts of daily consumption – organic and artificial. I am intent on creating a globally resonant vocabulary by preserving and re-presenting more widespread ephemeral matters in my studio work.
EMSC: What is the significance of wearables in your work?
JK: I am interested in ideas of transition in relation to the utility and lifecycle of wear-ables. The body is important in my work, both as a vehicle for altering the material and as a site for display. Initially transformed through daily use, the materials I am currently exploring convey a physical, intimate relationship between owner and object. By reinterpreting the work as jewelry, the materials lose their original function, but not the associations made manifest in their transformed wear-able state. For the wearer, I hope to re-embody a sensual experience, a recollection, about everyday moments often overlooked.
EMSC: How do you select your materials?
JK: I often select materials while in the shower or walking around in obscure places. At the moment, however, I am contemplating the possibilities of an orange peel … from the tangelo I just ate. I collect materials that break down, wear out, and are otherwise discarded – often in the form of detritus encountered and manipulated in everyday activities. Soap, worn shoe soles, the peels – these materials are naturally evocative, and embody suggestive visual and tactile information. I often pause to study these things for their de-formal qualities, surfaces and textures. I scatter this stuff throughout my studio – rearranging piles of materials and playing around with compositions. Sometimes all it takes, however, is a bit of de-composition to make a finished piece or a new discovery.
EMSC: What’s next for Joshua Kosker?
JK: I am applying for several residencies, fellowships and teaching positions in the coming months, while developing my graduate thesis exhibition and instructing ART 1120 – Media Studio: Space and Time. Following commencement in May, I want to continue to make my work in whatever capacity possible. A goal is to hold a professor position at an academic institution while continuing to develop and exhibit my work. At the end of the day, I want to fix up a house in the mountains, build a personal studio, and write music on the side.
EMSC: What do you listen to while you work?
JK: I prefer listening to music … preferably loud. Right now I’m listening to M83 – Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming. The sound of a rainstorm now and again would be nice, though.
EMSC: What are you reading right now?
JK: The Poetics of Space and Thinking Through Craft
EMSC: Favorite movie?
JK: Shawshank Redemption
EMSC: Dream job?
EMSC: Preferred pet?
JK: I don’t usually like cats, but if I had to pick any animal to have as a pet, I would want my brother’s cat, Pickle.
See more of Joshua Kosker’s work in the Emerging Artist Gallery