We had the good fortune of connecting with Josh Ryan Higgins and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Josh Ryan, what is the most important factor behind your success?
I think finding my voice and finding people that encourage me to keep going have been the most important factors. Looking at my past work generally the pieces that resonated with others have been ones that embrace my tone and point of view and the ones that haven’t done well were where I tried to emulate someone else’s voice or style. I never would’ve have the courage to put my voice out there though if it weren’t for people around me encouraging me to put more and more of myself into my work.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’m most proud of my growth and resilience. We hear a lot about the prodigies and overnight successes, but I really didn’t start making my own art until my mid-to-late 20s and I feel like I’m just now getting to a place where I feel comfortable with my work. Doing my artwork in addition to having a full-time job forced me to make a lot of slow consistent progress over years. Carving out 20 minutes on a lunch break everyday or taking a few hours every weekend slowly adds up. There many times I felt like quitting or felt I had achieved all that I could, but thats usually about when a new opportunity shows up. One of the other big things I learned was that finding and embracing your voice is probably more important than finding your style. Everyone’s style evolves over time, but if you’re always creating from your authentic self, its always going to feel like your work.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I think the best things about Houston are the art and the food. Art-wise, the Rothko Chapel is probably my favorite place in Houston followed by James Turrell’s Skyspace. Of course you can’t forget all our amazing museums like the CAMH, the Printing Museum, and the MFAH. Food-wise Puebla’s Mexican Kitchen in the Heights is some of my favorite food from my favorite people. The best food adventure though is to head out to Chinatown, walk around, and follow your stomach. For those of you who need something more than museums and food, there’s a lot of great trails, greenways, and bike paths to explore along the bayou. I’m not a huge drinker, but Lei Low, Double Trouble, and Poison Girl are my go-to’s when I do. Houston is so big and diverse that there’s something for everyone, so I hate to give a single must-see list, when you could tailor your time here to your specific personality.
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?
Honestly there are too many to name, I owe all my success to other people pushing me or taking a chance on me. Burning Bones Press and all the artists there pushed me to start making my own art. Quinn and the Cactus Music folks gave me my first solo art show. Lauren Hom helped me find my true voice and take my work to a new level. Last but not least is all my friends and family who put up with me disappearing here and there to go work on some new project.
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