Makoshika comes alive in Glendive Native's artwork (slideshow 2)
By Daniel Nolker
Ranger-Review Staff Writer
Vibrant and colorful oil paintings contrast stark and refined black and white prints in Glendive native and Dickinson State University art student Josh Reed’s senior capstone art show “Unified Diversity.”
Inspired by the vast array of textures and colors in the badlands of Makoshika State Park, Reed combined different media for his art. Along with oil paint on stretched canvas, he also used paint and monotype prints on unprimed canvas.
“I really strive to push myself in everything I do, so I decided to work the prints in with the painting. It was something new for me and it worked out perfectly. The color of the unprimed canvas matches what you see in the landscape when you are hiking in Makoshika,” Reed said.
More than just a challenging project, the subject of Makoshika fits the passion Reed has developed as an artist at DSU.
“I’ve always loved drawing and I found I can express myself with more freedom through landscapes. It was important for me to focus on Makoshika because people can take its beauty for granted. It’s such a wonderful place and people drive right through without thinking about it,” Reed said.
Along with the landscape, artists in Glendive also inspired Reed. Dawson County High School art teacher NaDean Brown and local artist and social studies teacher Tom Temple both encouraged Reed to explore his talent and pursue art. He said a turning point as an artist was when Temple took him to a professional artist’s studio where he saw what it would be like to do his own art.
Temple said he could tell Reed had talent even when he was in high school.
“He’s definitely gifted and I’m glad to see he has used some unique opportunities to propel him into something he loves. More than anything, I think his tremendous work ethic will help him do well,” Temple said.
For Reed, the hard work is part of the allure of pursuing a career in art and his effort has won him accolades in the art community. Last year he won best in show at the DSU art show. This year, one of his pieces was accepted for the Self Employment in the Arts Annual Conference in Chicago. He said the conference taught him a lot about marketing his work and intensified his interest in pursuing art as a career.
With an art entrepreneurship major and minors in graphic design and entrepreneurship, Reed plans to start his own business. After graduating in May, he is considering starting his own graphic design business or opening a gallery.
“I like that you are your own boss and you need to know how to market yourself and manage your business. There’s a lot to it: math, science, chemistry, history,” he said.
Although it is a challenging career, he said it is important for him to have the freedom to do what he loves and show people new things. Like the unrecognized beauty of Makoshika, he wants to share with people the deeper implications of art.
“Art isn’t just painting pretty pictures. It’s putting your life and your backstory and everything that’s meaningful to you into your pieces,” Reed said.
His work will remain on display until April 26 in the Mind’s Eye Gallery in Klinefelter Hall on the DSU campus Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Reach Daniel Nolker at email@example.com.