Member Spotlight: Joshua Mangis

WNYBAC appreciates the creative and diverse members who make up our community.

JUNE IS MEMBERSHIP MONTH AT WNYBAC
Follow along as we celebrate one outstanding member each week!

Joshua sells a book in the WNYBAC shop called “Lovely, Loving, Loved.” This, and most of his work, focuses on mental health and self care. His goal is to spark a conversation about mental health, and this is a conversation he embodies in his art.


~ Joshua Mangis ~

Joshua’s art and work at WNYBAC is different from some of our other member’s, because it does have such a common theme tying it all together. He also isn’t primarily a print artist, like some of our other members.

Joshua’s artistic roots are as a musician. His main practice as a visual artist is in sculpture. He got started as a visual artist in college, where he was a Community Art major. What is a Community Art major, you ask? It’s a very cool and unique program that’s a hybrid between the social sciences and the visual arts. He had the opportunity to create community art projects as a part of his major.

 He ended up displaying one of these community art projects in the first one of our member shows he participated in. During his Senior year of college, Joshua created a piece centered around pill bottles. He made ceramic tokens pressed from the tops of pill bottles, and people were encouraged to take these tokens, which were a representation of transition and self care. Joshua has a different experience with pill bottles than others. To him, they are common place, while to others, they can be slightly provocative. The point of this piece, like the point of many of his other pieces, was to open up a conversation about mental illness, and to dispel some of the myths surrounding it.

 Another one of the projects for his community art major inspired Joshua to make his book, “Lovely, Loving, Loved.” One of the big projects his senior year was to make a book, and while a lot of people just made portfolio-type books, he was interested in the interactive journal fad, and wanted to try his hand at it. He chose to make self-care the theme of the book because it’s something he’s spent a lot of time thinking about and working on, and he wanted to share what he’s learned in an accessible form for other people.

He says “I think the book is for everyone.” He recognizes that the book may appeal most to people struggling with mental illness, but that its for anyone who wants to work on self-care. “Loving yourself is such an amorphis process.” Personally, he needs specifics to do so. His whole goal in making the book was to make self-care relatable and accessible to anyone who may want to work on their own self-care. It is less intense than full-fledged art therapy, but asks a lot of the same questions. “Lovely, Loving, Loved” is an access point for people who don’t necessarily have a diagnosis.

“Loving yourself is such an amorphis process”

 Joshua’s hope for his work is to start a conversation. So often, artists who struggle with mental illness get labeled as “mentally tortured” like their struggle is essential to their art. Think of Van Gogh who some may describe as the “quintessential mentally tortured artist.” His paintings were inspired by his tortured soul… except not really. Really, he related to nobodies, so that’s who he painted. Van Gogh was a pretty normal dude. His own writing about his mental illness exists, and it’s honest and also hopeful. So the way we talk about him is not helpful. The way we talk about a lot of people battling mental illness is not helpful. That is why Joshua hopes his work will help change the dialogue.

 

Joshua is impressed by the diversity of the work of the artists involved with the WNYBAC community. He doesn’t know how we manage to make it such a community, and he’s impressed. Joshua is one of those impressive artists that make our community so diverse. 


~ Another 3D art piece made with pill bottles ~

So what does he plan to do next to continue his involvement with the WNYBAC community? Joshua definitely wants to participate in the member show again, since the opportunity to exhibit his work has been less frequent since he graduated college, and he misses it. He also might start more work on his book soon, and maybe even make a follow-up or follow-ups.


~ More of “Lovely, Loving, Loved” ~

Joshua is one of the newer members here at WNYBAC, having just moved here from Chicago. But WNYBAC was one of the first places he found here in Buffalo, and he’s been a member since July. Already he’s contributed so much to our community through allowing us to display and sell his artwork with a message and a mission. We at WNYBAC know it is an honor to have Joshua as a member of our community.

Join our community and support our 2018 Membership Drive!

We would like to take this opportunity to thank our funders listed below, for providing support to WNYBAC's ongoing programs taking place throughout Western New York:

NYSCA M & T Art 4 Moore Zenger Group Evans Bank Community Foundation
Baird Foundation Cameron Jane