skipping around the Bay Area for a bit, Joshua Camozzi Milligan
landed in Portland five years ago. When hes not creating,
the native of Los Gatos, Calif., volunteers at the Wattles
Club, where he mentors young people in computer graphics and video
Life is art to Joshua Camozzi Milligan, and art is a way to express
the energy of life. According to Joshua, artists practice "magik"
which he spells with a "k" to delineate from
card tricks and such.
"An artist is one who manifests his or her
own reality through a deep, inherent communication with the subconscious
mind," he said. "It's a very spiritual practice that
"Art is a complex thing to understand consciously.
However an artist perceives art is the degree to which it unfolds
itself to the individual. Each letter of each word, each fleck
of pigment that extends a line, each image, each sound, every
breath constitutes something so minuscule, yet so grandiose."
Joshua manifests his reality with any medium that strikes his
"Some is pen and ink, some oil, some acrylic,
expansion foam, wood, light, alpha wave manipulation, words, installation,
my clothing, my face, makeup, music, reality, every little thing
I can tap my tendrils into."
When Joshua begins to draw or paint, he may or may
not have any idea of the outcome.
candy yum yum bits"
"It's a matter of letting the energies flow
freely," he said. "Perhaps at times there's a root concept
lulling in the mind, but the rest comes through conversations
and arguments between the unconscious and conscious.
"It's a bit of a ritualistic practice. Preparing
the space, both physical and aural and everything in between,
is important when applicable and possible. Then it's all a matter
of that first mark it tends to influence everything."
For Joshua, the difference between painting and
drawing is not just the medium used, it's also the use of the
mind, spirit and body literally.
"Drawing is a meticulous form of intense focus and tedious
introspection," he said. "While painting becomes more
of a dance there is a lot of jumping, twirling, flinging
and physical contact with the canvas.
"I become more enthralled with texture and
color rather than line and pattern," he said.
Inspiration comes to Joshua in many forms, too anything
from a bright, sunshiny day to sleep deprivation and isolation
can "move the spirits" and do the trick.
"Standing at the coast, staring into the seemingly
limitless ocean and watching the waves swirl round and round,
almost in slow motion as the wind fills the ears; it's almost
as if all physical constraints release and you feel yourself drifting
into the ocean as the ocean ... and once the ocean is all gone,
there's the middle of the desert with its surplus of strange,
illusive energies at play. I'd have to say moments like those
work like a charm," he said. "Nature in general is a
good reminder and inspirer."
Though Joshua doesn't feel directly influenced by other artists,
he does enjoy the works of Jim Woodring, Ralph Steadman, Andy
Goldsworthy and Earnst Haeckel.
"I am quite aware that as a human being with
open eyes and a relatively open mind, I am open to imprinting
of all forms," he said. "So whatever I have experienced
from 1976 to the present can and will come out in some
form or another. Whether it is conscious or not is another issue
Joshua's art, in the form of greeting cards, can
be found in a number of shops around Portland. He's done murals
and commissioned pieces for a private party, and had a public
show in December at Realm-8 on Southeast Belmont.
sunrise on a day like today"
"I would like to get another show together,"
he said, "but my efforts have been focused toward music these
past couple months. I'm involved with a group that's building
a massive art-theme camp to bring to Burning Man this year. We're
organizing a variety of events to help raise money for building
materials, trucks, generators, domes, sculptures and much more.
"But once things die down a bit, I plan on
melding back into the visual realm. The realities tend to shift
back and forth, nurturing different avenues of the soul."
Joshua has been artistic for as far back as he can remember, and
believes his talent is genetic.
"I just always did art," he said. "Most
of my free time was spent painting, drawing or having my mom draw
superheroes for me. Mom did a lot of oil painting in her day,
landscapes and still-lifes, and has always had a bit of a knack
with the creative side of things. My father was an engineer. He
did drawings, but they were more on the practical side than creative
though I'm sure there were times he had to get a bit creative.
"Subsequently, both my brother and myself were
able to tap into these realms with relative ease. I feel very
fortunate that both my parents have always been very supportive
of my interests."
Joshua pursued his talents by taking art classes
in high school and junior college. He then attended California
College of Arts and Crafts for a year before transferring to Portland's
Pacific Northwest College of Art, where he graduated in August
with a B.A. in fine arts.
The impossible dream
Joshua's dream: to enable others to experience what he feels and
perceives through his reality.
"I know this is impossible," he said,
"though I have to continue to try. Humans seem to want to
communicate. But communication is one of the most amazing and
most frustrating things about being here on this plane of reality.
"The tools we are given don't always seem to
get the job done. Speech is quite limiting. The English language
is a somewhat abrasive construct that can't really transport the
true essence of what one individual is experiencing to the next.
"In fact, quite often, literal translation
can have a plethora of different implications. It can imply and
hint at certain things, but the human brain is experiencing a
horribly frightening amount of sensations every fraction of a
second. Art, music, performance, theater, massage, touch, mannerisms
these are all ways we diligently try to get our points
across, yet on their own they are also very limiting.
"So essentially," he said, "my goal
is to try and share with the world, as best I can, that which
I see, hear, feel and be."