Interview: OPEN:FORMAT & YASHUA KLOS
OF: Congrats on your recent show at UTA. We had the pleasure of getting a tour of the show and hearing you talk about the work... You have an amazing ability to articulate your thoughts and emotions behind the work. Is that something you've practiced and honed over the years or more of a natural gift? Do you have any advice for artists that struggle with speaking about their work?
YK: Thank you for the compliment and it was a pleasure to walk through the show with you and the open format studio mates! I would say that I've found that my clarity in communication around my work has evolved as I have become more clear about my work. I also honed my communication by trying to explain the concepts or processes in the work to someone who has little prior art experience.
OF: You were talking about your journey on Instagram the other day. What was one of the toughest chapters or aspects of developing your career?
YK: The toughest part of my career has been feeling stuck without role models. art world success comes with no handbook, so artists have to learn how to progress by studying other artists. I went through a period where I didn't know the next steps because I wasn't asking enough questions and I wasn't asking for help. Once I got over that, I found that my friends were happy to share their success stories and I was fueled up again!
OF: You work on large pieces that require lots of meticulous work and I would imagine a lot of energy. Do you have any energizing rituals or habits?
YK: It's been true for me that running and weight training has been a way for me to stay limber and energized in my practice.
OF: You've been trying some new stuff in the last six months that you've been working in LA. Once you've found success and people are responding positively to a body of work, is it scary to push outside of that comfort zone and play with new techniques and subject matter?
YK: It's great to have an audience, but it's more exciting to have an audience that can grow with you. I consider it a creative challenge to see if I can bring them along into something they don't expect. Also, I know I can't please everyone, so I don't ever try.
OF: Favorite album to listen to while you work?
YK: Changes all the time. I'm more a playlist listener than albums. Right now it's a lot of Griselda and Snoh Allegra. Often when I'm woodblock carving its Howling Wolf and John Lee Hooker.
OF: I've always had respect for people that can pull off a uniform. Can you tell us about the jumpsuit/coveralls?
YK: I Have on a jumpsuit as I type this! It keeps me in work mode. It's transformative. Also connects me to my family's history working in the Detroit auto plants, which my upcoming show is all about.
OF: Do you look very far into the future of your career or prefer to just take it one step at a time?
YK: I think way into the future. You should too.
OF: Yashua was a self-given name, right? When did you start going by that name and what does it mean for you?
YK: The short answer is My mom named me Joshua, and in college, I became fascinated with the root languages behind words we use. Yashua is the original Hebrew pronunciation of my given name. So I took it back to the roots.
OF: It seems like you've been working non-stop for the last six months since we've had you in the studios. You must be exhausted. Are you relieved to head back to NY and are you going to be able to take some time off?
YK: I've been back in NY three days now and I'm typing this while waiting to board a flight to Luxembourg. I'm meeting with a gallery there to plan a show next year. So no. I'm not exhausted and I'm not taking time off. I'm just starting.