Week 5- Artist Conversation- Joshua Tomokazu Thomen

Artist: Joshua Tomokazu Thomen

Exhibition: Still Here

Media: sculptures

Gallery: Dennis W. Dutzi Gallery

Instagram: @voyezmessouvenirs


CSULB undergraduate Joshua Thomen is working toward his Bachelor of Arts degree. He is currently a junior and is applying to the School of Art’s Sculpture Program, hoping to get in. Joshua is from Pasadena. He has always enjoyed art even at a young age. He sees art as a way to express himself.

This exhibition was different and interesting. When entering the room, it is dimly lit. There are blocks of stone lined up in the form of a “z” in the room. On the blocks, there are little ceramic figurines welded into them. Each block has different ceramic figures of different shapes and sizes.

Joshua’s idea of this exhibit was centered around the current election results that had recently happened. His work was a way for him to cope with how he’s feeling. Times are tough right now for America and these pieces in his exhibit were a way for him to express himself. Joshua said that he has always been into cute things. He believes that cuteness relates to queerness, so he put those cute figurines on the blocks. It’s what makes him happy. The position of the blocks forms a wall. The placement of his work was important to him. It forces the audience to be aware of movement. The point of the stone blocks and the figurines was to symbolize both genders, masculinity and femininity. When creating this, Joshua said the word “stuck” came to mind. He was feeling stuck and frustrated. He thought about what he could do to make things okay.

I thought that Joshua’s exhibit was very interesting and unique. I love the message behind it. I do agree with him in that America is quite lost right now due to the recent election. I like that this was his way of representing both genders and it was a way for him to express himself and his feelings. Upon entering the room, I felt dark and sadness and I realized that the ceramic figurines on the blocks were little symbols of happiness within the sadness.


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