Cal senior artist finds his visual voice

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By Charlene Chew, Staff Writer

Senior Josh Barish expresses his unique creativity through his artwork.

While most kids stick to stick figures and clip art, Cal High senior Joshua Barish finds natural expression in his distinctive artwork.

“I was chosen to love to draw as a way to express myself,” said Josh.

Parents often wonder what direction their kids will take in life and in which fields they’ll excel.

But  by seventh or eighth grade, it was pretty clear to Josh’s father, Lonnie, what his son would do.

“Every chance we get we support him, whether that be buying him the materials he needs or sending him to different classes,” said Barish.

Since beginning his discovery of his place in the art world about five years ago, Josh has developed a distinguishable style and uses recurring themes in his works.

“When people look at my work they see it’s mine immediately, they know it’s Josh Barish’s work,” said Josh.

A surrealistic artist, Josh calls his own style “abstract silliness,” a slightly dark, edgy and bizarre style full of googly -eyed monsters and silly creatures.

“Some people say it’s awesome and some say it’s weird,” said Josh. “Luckily, I’ve gotten a lot who say it’s awesome.”

Josh’s works tends to have some edge, but he’s not  an edgy  person, said art teacher Gary Middleton, noting Josh is very  open to instruction.

“Since I met Josh he has really gained confidence in his own ‘visual voice’,” said art teacher Barbara Farmer. “His work now has its own personality that reflects him wonderfully.”

Farmer, who has had Josh in her Art 3 and AP Art classes, said his sense of who he is as an artist has really come together.

He does not get  any of his ideas from anywhere else but his own head, said senior Jonny Grishpul, Josh’s friend.

“He looks at everything with a different perspective than the average student,” said Middleton, “He sees the smallest details that most people would miss.”

Josh, who started drawing comics in middle school, began art courses at Cal freshmen year.

“Around sixth to seventh grade he started doodling on about everything, his homework, scrap paper, anything around the house,” said Josh’s father.

Next year, Josh plans on attending art school,  where he wants to receive a degree in illustration.

He is almost done with completing his 15 piece portfolio in which he will send into schools such as Otis College of Art and Design, San Francisco Art Institution, and his first choice, California College of the Arts, where he recently took a college-level summer course taught by renowned illustrator Barron Storey.

His father is confident Josh will get into these schools.

“He’ll absolutely get in,” agreed Farmer. “I think his work is of high enough quality that art schools will want to invest in him.”

Josh is hoping to be a freelance illustrator after art school.

“I told Josh, ‘I’ll see your name big someday,’” said Middleton.

Josh has already found success in art, and is surely to find even greater success with his talent and drive to get where he wants to go.

“I just want to express myself and show the world that I want to make them laugh through my art,” said Josh. “I really know I want to take this to a new level and show everyone of the world what I can do.”

Josh currently displays his work on his Tumblr at