Joshua Ellenberg is a talented artist from Melbourne, Australia whose style is a blend of surrealism, expressionism and pop.  I caught up with him and asked what influences and inspires his brilliant work.

You have several artists in your family including your sister Zoe Ellenberg.  How has that influenced you?

Growing up within an artistic family which valued and encouraged the arts has had a profound influence on me. These early experiences of seeing my late Uncle Joel work on marble sculptures was inspirational and impressive then, and in my later life.

Comedy and irony through my father Solly’s cartoons and drawings was very important as well as working alongside my sister Zoe.  The culmination of gallery openings, meeting artists and being surrounded by art has developed a need to create my own images and objects.

What inspires you?

Inspiration for artworks can come through my emotional states, mass media imagery, and social realism.  A desire to create beautiful and/or meaningful images to express and explore my own psyche through my experiences in life, travel, and reactions to and against the human condition.

Was there a time that you remember when you went from doing art to being an artist?

The period after university to having my first solo exhibition was that time.  That transition is more noticeable than the so-called one of an emerging artist and an established one.

Do you have a preference in terms of painting, drawing, or sculpting?

It is dependent on the image or subject. I have recently started sculpting again (my becoming an uncle myself as primary motivation to create a sculpture for my nephew).  At this stage drawing is giving me the most satisfaction.

What are you currently working on?

A large four metre long pen and ink drawing of Rome which has been commissioned for a restaurant in Melbourne. Currently I am working exclusively on that.

What kinds of art and/or artists are you in to?

Real artists! I can be interested in artists from all disciplines and genres, be it literature, visual arts, fashion, or music.  I would have to say artists that challenge social perceptions and conventions such as Beckman, Dix, Whiteley, Dali, and Brancusi to name a few.

I am interested in artists who have some basic level of integrity and who believe their artwork and creations are of more value than the artists own ego or quest for celebrity.

What advice would you give to an aspiring artist?

Learn as much as you can from your art teachers and other artists.  Make the effort to actually see work in the flesh in galleries and museums.  Be open-minded with materials and explore continually on developing various techniques.  Regardless of sales or acclaim keep on producing art!

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