We had the good fortune of connecting with Joseph Podlesnik and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Joseph, have you ever found yourself in a spot where you had to decide whether to give up or keep going? How did you make the choice?
I suppose I continue working when I still have questions to ask about certain subjects/genres, through an art form or art medium — working with personal experiences, in addition to convention or formula.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I think what has been helping me is some of the daily dedication (perhaps obsession?) with an art form, keeping my work tool (camera) with me, whether I’m “hunting” for interesting images or when the images find me. This is why it is important at this time to have a working tool with me when I’m out and about. I’m especially proud of exhibiting a sample of my photographic work with several accomplished artists (Robert Deniro Sr., Jane Culp, Lois Dodd, etc.) in a “Still Life” show at Gallery North in Long Island, NY (I think I was the only photographer in the show); and showing with two veteran photographers in the “Cityscape” exhibition at the ASU Northlight Gallery in Phoenix, AZ. I think what plays a part in some of this is an art education, personal research (of other painted and photographic works) /personal experiences and taking lots of photographs. One lesson I’m still learning is to be open to change, allowing myself to modify my expectations about things, about life and some of the ways it can be captured in and realized through photography.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I think I would invite friends to visit the Phoenix Art Museum (when it opens for visitors again), perhaps the Phoenix Aquarium, then dine at some of the restaurants in OldTown Scottsdale. Along with this, I might invite friends to come along on long “seeing what there is to see” photo excursions around area malls and local neighborhoods, to maybe observe surprising, striking images.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Some of the artists and educators who have played roles in some of my development as an artist. They would be art historian Ernst Gombrich, martial artist Bruce Lee, Cincinnati Reds catcher Johnny Bench, painter/sculptor Alberto Giacometti, pianist Glenn Gould, artist/educator Roy R. Behrens, art historian/theorist James Elkins, filmmaker Jon Jost, photographers Saul Leiter, Diane Arbus, Robert Frank, Lee Friedlander, William Eggleston, Imogen Cunningham, Robert Adams, Stephen Shore, painter Frank Auerbach, and so many, many others…