Galleries and potential employers
In 10 days, an amazingly talented artist and friend, Joseph Cowman, will be forced to choose between a full time position building false teeth factory-style for the financial security it will bring has family OR possibly lose his current part-time position, straining his family but opening up the possibility of spending more time on creative work.
I think there's a third choice, but it will require a grassroots effort to make happen. I'm certain that there are positions available out there that will allow someone as skilled as Joseph to practice art and be creative but still earn a good livelihood. So, I'm tapping into my network and cashing in favors to see if I can find Joseph a job where he can really flex his skills.
If you want to learn a bit more about Joseph, keep reading. Or, you could jump straight to how you can help. This a grassroots effort, and there's something YOU can do!
- Visit Joseph Cowman's web site
- Learn about how YOU can help
- A referral
- Add a countdown banner on your web site
- Follow the Save Joseph campaign on Twitter
- Interesting things Joseph has done outside of art (robotic arms, unibody sunglasses, costumes)
- See some Save Joseph-insipred derivative art
A few examples of Joseph Cowman's work
Joseph is probably the most capable person I know, and I think the only two reasons he hasn't landed a fulfilling position is that 1) he lives in a small town, which makes networking in the art world difficult and time-consuming and 2) between work, family, and practicing his art, doesn't have much time to get his work out there. For years I (and most people who know Joseph) have felt like there's this huge talent going to waste, like the world is just a little lamer because Joseph is building teeth instead of really pushing the boundaries of what he can do.
Anyone who has ever hired Joseph has loved working with him, and from knowing him on a personal level, I can understand why. In addition to being able to pick up anything, figure it out and then push it beyond what most people would, he's incredibly patient and empathetic, making him sensitive to other people and what they need. It's an interesting combination, one I don't run across very often.
The dream job
After talking with Joseph for a bit to figure out what kind of position he's looking for, he said anything that would be artistically challenging that has good variation. He said doing character work or design for games would be perfect, and he's also capable of working in a variety of styles. The bottom line is that he wants to leverage his work time to help hone his craft and improve his skills as an artist. Challenge and variety are key.
Joseph has been building false teeth for the last 7 years, and I anticipate him really exploding into whatever work that he takes on next. If it's artistic, he's going to do a fantastic job because he'll be so enthusiastic about it.
Here's what you can do to help:
- Follow the campaign on Twitter
- If you know of any job opportunities along these lines, send them to me or directly to Joseph through his web site.
- Pass this story on to anyone you know who might be able to help with this effort. Anyone in any art-related industry, artists, empathetic people, sneezers, anyone. This is grassroots, and every root counts.
- Tweet about the campaign, and re-tweet!
- Give us any ideas you have on how we can improve the campaign, techniques we can use, tactics we can exploit
- Add the image countdown code to pull in the countdown box you see below to your web site, MySpace or Facebook page.
- Add comments to this post about interesting things that you know Joseph has done, any praise, whatever. If you take a look at his art and like it, mention it.
- Refer us to any artists you know who might have ideas on how to break into the biz
- Add a small amount to the Save Joseph Bounty that will be be awarded to the individual that provides the lead that lands Joseph a job
To add the countdown image below to your web site, use the following code:
Note that even though the image will work in sites like Facebook and MySpace, the little script that's added to it which refreshes the image regularly to reflect the countdown change won't work. In those cases, you can use the static image which doesn't use a countdown:
<a href="http://savejoseph.org"><img id="save_joseph" title="" alt="" src="http://josephcowman.impliedbydesign.com/sites/josephcowman.impliedbydesign.com/themes/jc/images/save-joseph-static.png"></a>
Joseph has focused a lot on his artwork the last several years, but his creative prowess extends in a lot of other directions. He's the kind of guy I am always telling other people about because the interesting things he's done. I'd like to get these a lot more coverage, and I'll add pictures as I get them, but here are just a few of the ones that have impressed me the most:
- When I met Joseph, he was 17. One of the first things he did was show me a fully functioning robotic arm he had built entirely out of scrap wood, hypodermic needles and IV tubing. No metal, no batteries, the whole thing ran off of the hydraulic pressure between two needs hooked up with the tubing. It was one of the coolest things I had ever seen.
- The next thing he showed me was a robotic hand, complete with 3 fingers and an opposable thumb, that connected to a glove you could put on your own hand to move the robot hand. It used bike cables as tendons. It was made out of a box of old random parts that his family had laying around. Also one of the coolest things I've seen.
- Then, he showed me a graphics program he had programmed on his computer in order to create graphics for a video game he wanted to make. It was more functional than any of the graphics-oritented programs I had on my computer.
- He built a series of didgeridoos out of driftwood with awesome artwork around it. He had to use a drill to hollow out the entire thing, using old tools. They're the prettiest didges I've ever seen.
- Back in the day when cool looking Oakley sunglasses were beyond his ability to purchase, he and a friend made their own pairs from thick aluminum sheet metal and cut their own lenses. At the time, they were really impressive.
- Every Halloween Joseph puts together a stellar costume. Stuff that could win prizes. Last year he built a realistic ogre head out of cardboard and vinyl. The year before, he built a costume that made him look like he was riding a dinosaur. It was really effective.
- Joseph and his wife completely renovated their entire home. When you walk through the house you can see the creative touch, and it looks beautiful.
A man of great talent
The kind heart of a father
The spirit of a dear friend
The mind and skill of an artist
Seeking new opportunity
Dreams and aspirations
Decorate every canvas of life
Skillful and trained hands
An eye for perfection
Please do not depart
Before you have seen it all
For every picture tells a story
A flowing rhapsody of inspiration
Feelings from you to me
Captured in the eternal beauty of art
Every single helping hand
Is welcomed to reach out
The choice is now yours
The request is simple
He needs your help, whatever you can do
Help him build a new future
To enrich the world with art
Within every masterful piece of art
There is a world to witness
They say a picture is worth one thousand words
But his art is clearly worth so much more
The choice is left to you
And until then,
We shall pray