Joshua Rainer is one of the new artists who bring his own way of seeing life through his art.  Joshua's  art pays homage to those who came before.   Such artists as Henry O. Tanner, Elizabeth Catlett, and Aaron Douglass.  However, Joshua brings it forward by providing timely portraits and themes.  Such as the ubiquitous “Black Lives Matter”.   vf

Joshua Rainer.jpg

 Joshua Ranier

Fine Art Painter

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Interview by Valerie Fair

Artist On The Cutting Edge: When did you get into the arts?

JOSHUA RAINER: I have been able to and loved to draw since I could remember. My mom has always been a talented artist and ran her own business as a graphic designer.  So, I was surrounded by her artwork from a very young age. Her being a successful businesswoman in the arts allowed me to conceive that I too could do something similar.  In 2018, I graduated from Detroit's College for Creative Studies (my mom's alma mater coincidentally) and so I considered starting my fine art career last year.

AOTCEWhat type of art do you do?  Representation, abstract, etc.

JRainer: I make representational, realist art and often draw inspiration from both Golden Age Dutch still life paintings and contemporary figurative Spanish paintings.

AOTCE: What is your subject?

JRainer: Lately, my contemporaries have been the subjects of my figurative work, but I sometimes use different floral arrangements and fruit for still lives. With the exception of a handful of pieces that are political conceptually, I chiefly strive to make work that is aesthetically pleasing.

AOTCE: What is your medium of choice and do you use more than one?

JRainer: My medium of choice is oil paint. But I often use charcoal.  I prefer board or masonite as a surface for painting compared to canvas because of its firmness and how smooth a gesso-ed surface can become from sanding it.  Hot-press paper is my surface of choice for drawing.

AOTCE: Do you create regularly?

JRainer: I create often in my sketchbooks, and create finished work a little less frequently.

AOTCE: What is your motivation?

JRainer: I am very critical of my own work – my primary motivation is honestly making work I can be undoubtedly proud of.  I love listening to and looking at other artists' work as well – especially local Detroit-area artists.  Relating to their narratives as an artist and my ever-deepening appreciation for their thought and craftsmanship gets me all the more excited about making more of my own work.

"being brutally critical and honest about what one is seeing in one's reference is essential to realist painting."

                                                        Joshua Rainer

Cunning 16 x 20, Oil on Board (Sold NFS)

Cunning, 16 x 20 Oil on Board (Sold NFS)

A Sunday Dream 11 X 14 Oil on Board (Com

A Sunday Dream 11 X 14 Oil on Board (Commissioned paintingNFS)

AOTCE: Do you teach?

JRainer: I do not teach, but I believe that a couple things I learned from realist painting are applicable to life; being brutally critical and honest about what one is seeing in one's reference is essential to realist painting.  As a life lesson, I feel that same brutal criticism and honesty about how one's perspective on anything is important to minimize bias in different situations and understand things clearer. Realist painting also takes time, and there's no getting around it. But the end result of that time invested, for me, is worth it every time. As a life lesson, many great things take time – patience and perseverance often yield better results than striving for instant gratification.

AOTCE: Who are your greatest influences?

JRainer: I have a range of different artistic influences. The greatest among them are; Edward Hopper; Golucho (surrealist Spanish painter); CJ Hendry (New York based hyper-realist draftswoman); Matthew Bober (New York based hyper-realist painter); Mario Moore (Detroit-based figurative painter & draftsman); Matthew Hansel (New York based surrealist painter); Tylonn Sawyer (Detroit-based figurative painter & draftsman); and Conrad Egyir (Detroit-based figurative, mixed media painter).

AOTCE: Did you have a mentor and/or do you mentor others?


JRainer: I do not have a formal mentor in the arts. But I do/have seek/sought the opinions and expertise of a number of local Detroit-area artists including the influences I mentioned before.

AOTCE: Do you have any art shows coming up?

JRainer: At present, I do not. I am currently working on three commissioned paintings and have an additional commission underway. My last exhibition was in December 2019 at Marygrove College.

AOTCE: Are you affiliated with a gallery?

JRainer: I am not presently affiliated with a gallery.  At present, my work can be seen most easily on my website,

AOTCE: Do you have a parting statement for our readers?

JRainer: I just pray that everyone stays as safe and healthy as can be considering the toll COVID-19 has taken on the country. My prayers and heart are/is also with every one of those who've lost someone as a result of the virus. #BLM #JusticeforBreonnaTaylor

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All rights to all images belong to the artists and cannot be used in any form without the written permission of the artists.