Printmaker Josh Bindewald Wants a Moment of Beauty

A Print by Josh Bindewald

By Angela Noel

January 25, 2018

I hold Josh Bindewald partially responsible for one of the weirdest experiences I’ve ever had. As the Exhibitions and Artists Cooperative Manager at Highpoint Center for Printmaking in Minneapolis, Josh invited his wife, Sarah, to bring a few friends to the gallery for an evening exhibition. Sarah and I met up with a few other people for drinks before the public show and headed over to the event. Among the genuinely beautiful pieces of art, a performance artists with shaggy hair, a microphone, and a (hopefully) fake pile of feces, writhed on the floor.

Memorable to say the least.

Artist Josh Bindewald and wife Sarah on their wedding day.
Josh and Sarah on their Wedding day in 2012.

Josh is also responsible for one of my favorite romantic lines, said to his bride on their wedding day. I loved it so much I asked to include it in the novel I was writing at the time. While looking into Sarah’s eyes and reciting the vows he’d written, Josh said, “Sarah, I feel noticeably wrong without you.” Now, that’s the kind of love I can’t resist. When a love grows so strong its presence is part of the fabric of life as we know it–beauty can be the only result.

And that, as it happens, is Josh’s philosophy for his printmaking.

Printmaking is a study in patience. It requires a vision. Then, depending on the technique, transforming that vision into its mirror image. Next, the artist makes a type of stamp from wood, metal, or other material capable of holding ink. Pressing paper to the “stamp” creates a print–the artist’s vision manifest. Sometimes it’s a one-time thing, where only one print can be made. Other times, a printmaker will do a series with variations on the theme to produce the desired effect.

Some artists might tell you they’re trying to change the world or to comment on it in a way that brings about a kind of necessary evolution in thought or deed. But that’s not what Josh is after with his art. He’s after the moment of beauty that begs the viewer to stop for the space of a deep breath or two. And it’s that sweet spot, when you’re not quite not thinking, but not quite thinking, where art fails description. This kind of art isn’t sending a particular message so much as it’s inviting you in to create your own.

Just like the words he said to Sarah on their wedding day: Beauty is both the thing we never knew we needed and the one thing we can’t possibly live without.

Life in Color
Funnel by printmaker Josh Bindewald
A print by Josh Bindewald titled, “Funnel.” Created using screenprinting and Gouache paint (a type of opaque watercolor).

When I look at some of Josh’s work, I see a type of coherent color explosion. At Bradley University, where Josh earned his Graduate of Arts degree in printmaking, he learned many things. But the most profound new understanding he came away with was the use and purpose of color in printmaking. The deliberate contrasts and the shape the color takes bring out the architectural or organic elements in new ways. The same print made from the same zinc stamp, for example, changes as color and other images play on the page. There’s no deep message there except this: Reusing the plate, “echoes how we as humans interact with our natural world,” Josh says. It’s the same, but different. It’s us, but not us.

Like many artists, Josh always feels like there’s that next project thrumming in his brain. Art is both an outlet and a contribution. He feels the need to create and wants to make his vision reality.  He wants people to connect with the work and to have it strike that feeling of beauty. In a way, Josh’s art is as intimate as the wedding ceremony he and Sarah designed. It’s not meant to mean something to everyone. It’s only meant to mean something to those who see the beauty in it, and once known, feels noticeably wrong without it.

State 10 by printmaker Josh Bindewald
Titled simply, “State 10,” This print is one of a series created by Josh using the “Intaglio” technique. (“Intaglio” means cutting an image into a surface such that the cuts hold ink. )

How we experience art is as much about what we’re bringing to it as it is about the object itself. To me, Josh’s work makes me wonder what’s next. What kinds of things will he explore in color and shape that take me out of my ever-thinking mind and help me experience a space between?

Whether it’s inviting me into the weird or the wonderful, artists like Josh help make all kinds of moments memorable.

Connect with Josh on his website or Instagram.

Your turn: What do you think is beautiful? What kind of art interests you?

Author: Angela Noel

Seeker and promoter of awesome people and ideas.

33 thoughts on “Printmaker Josh Bindewald Wants a Moment of Beauty”

  1. I think out of all the arts (music, film, literature etc) art is the one that can have so many interpretations & the interpretation depends on the person viewing it. We put so much into art just by looking at it. It’s forever elastic. Also, I absolutely love what he said to his bride on their wedding. So beautiful & so true for me xx

    1. You know, you bring up a great point. One of the things that I find fascinating about quantum physics (I know, go with me here) is that just by LOOKING at a particle, you change it. Now, don’t expect me to explain that because I definitely can’t, but when I learned that it really struck me. And art is the same thing–just like you said. We change it, and it changes us, just by looking at it. Maybe we don’t actually change it physically (like a quantum particle) but the fact of its existence and how it “is” in the world does change when people bring their eyeballs and experiences to the piece. As always, you’ve given me much to ponder!

  2. Art is a strange but beautiful thing. Strange because it can be anything – things you understand, things you don’t understand, things of beauty, things of sadness, things that make you laugh, or things that cause you to go silent as you comprehend what you are observing. Beautiful because each art piece can be anything (I know – it’s the same line as above), and that’s the beauty of it to. Each piece is completely individualistic and means the world to someone. That’s the joy of art. My son told brought me one of his paintings the other day and said “Mom, I know this painting isn’t as good as your paintings, but I really like it.” I told him, “Your painting is perfect. You painted it all by yourself, and no one else in the entire world will do what you just did. This piece is your artwork, and if you like it – that’s all that matters.” It’s fun looking into another’s world of art – being able to see their work through their eyes. Just as you did with Josh’s. Thanks for sharing a wonderful story!

    1. I love what you said to your son! And I couldn’t agree more. Art is so many things to so many people. And though experts will define it and declare one piece more valuable or noteworthy than another, I believe anything that inspires or expresses is art. But, what I appreciate about those, like Josh is the commitment to craft. While I could put paint on a stamp and create something pretty (maybe) the study and the focus produce something more. I think the expert connects craft, inspiration, and expression to tap into a universal experience the rest of us can recognize. In the end though–what connects to us to the art is much more.
      By the way, I’d love to see more of your awesome art. It’s gorgeous.

      1. Thank you! I’ve been very busy painting this month, and have been contemplating displaying some pieces on my website. We shall see 🙂

  3. I’m interested in landscapes. Usually beaches and winding paths through the forest. I find them peaceful. I also like portraits. I like to look into those faces and imagine what kind of life the person must’ve lead. It’s intriguing.

  4. Josh’s art is amazing! The colors, the geometrical design, the details and definitions; these pieces just drew me in. Thank you for sharing his work.

  5. An awesome insight into Josh…The artist… His work is very interesting and for me that last print has an etheral quality about it. I love a picture which draws me in and makes me feel which is why many portraits seem so flat and one dimensional to me..the same with many landscapes …It is a good artist who feels his work…

  6. I gotta ask and I swear this isn’t the main thing I took from this post: what is up with the feces? I don’t understand. State 10 is very nice but it’s not the same as the featured image, correct? That’s my favorite! What a talented person he is! And to answer your question, beauty to me is anything with flowers. The skin on my laptop- floral. My S’well water bottle- floral. And the irony? I can’t keep a flower alive for more than 24 hours. LOL! I adore impressionistic paintings and paintings of royalty from the 17th century.

    1. To be honest, I could not tell you what that performance artist had in mind with the feces. He had all kinds of things like magazine covers and a paper mache world hanging in the space. Then he sort of yelled a lot and ran around all the objects. That’s what I remember anyway. But the rest of the gallery was filled with so many beautiful things!
      State 10 is part of a limited series. Each one with different colors or elements added, but begun on the same foundation. Josh could say more about it, obviously than I can. But, it’s cool how he took something the same, and made it different.
      I can’t keep anything alive either, but I do love great patterns and flowers are wonderful. I also am fascinated by the royalty pictures. What is the deal with those collars?

  7. Angela, firstly Josh’s art is FAB and I will be checking him out on Instagram. Its the kind of art I love, the kind which makes you think. Secondly his wedding quote gave me a warm fuzzy feeling and it definitely deserved to be in a novel. Thirdly this is a wonderful post and my favourite line was ‘this kind of art isn’t sending a particular message so much as it’s inviting you in to create your own.’ Art which invites you to create your own message is wonderful and sometimes life changing.

    1. Excellent! I’m sure you’ll find much to love in following Josh. He is, as we say, a good egg. I love original visual art and knowing an artist and learning more about the craft or their creative process is thrilling. I feel lucky. Thank you for reading and adding your awesome comment!

  8. I meant to come back and comment yesterday….as usual Angela, you – with a little help from Josh – have blown me away. I absolutely love this art – it is such a wonderful way to express yourself and I wish that I could produce something a fraction so beautiful. I will be sharing this with my daughter who is our resident artist and we will look Josh up on Instagram/Pinterest. Just trying to boost my girl’s confidence with her art and have set some of her art up on a greetings card site – and hope to raise some money for our genetic illness charity with it.

    1. That’s awesome, Claire! I would definitely support you and your daughter in the effort. I know Traci York has a Zazzle site with greeting cards, so she may be a good resource too. I’m so glad you read this and felt inspired and I’m REALLY looking forward to seeing your daughter’s art. 🙂

        1. I love the cards. I love the picture of the city and the beautiful new baby card. I tried to register, but given my US address I had a little trouble and it kept giving me an error. But please tell your “zebra girl” how much I enjoyed looking at her art- she has a talent and her hard work shows.

    2. Hi Claire, If you live in the Minneapolis area, your should bring your daughter to a Free Ink Day event at Highpoint where I work. If she likes making art, she would absolutely love it! Thanks for your comments about my art as well!

  9. Thanks to everyone for reading Angela’s profile of my artwork, I really appreciate it. It’s great to have more people lay eyes on it. I do not seek outside feedback enough so I appreciate hearing these thoughts. It’s not for everyone but what is?! Thank you again to Angela for visiting my studio and writing the beautiful piece as well.

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