Local Artist Josh Brizuela, aka Bask, Discusses His Inspirations and Big Plans for 2013

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Phoenix is full of creative forces who (lucky us) call Downtown home. These artists fill local galleries, coffee shops, restaurants, hair salons, you name it, with their artwork and continue to put on killer art shows every First and Third Friday.

Josh Brizuela, who runs his own art company called Bask, showcased his work for the first time in downtown Phoenix last month and is quickly breaking into the Downtown arts community at young age. We sat down and talked with him about his first show, who inspires him, and his plans for the future.

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Before last First Friday's art exhibit, Brizuela's art had only existed in the virtual world, on social media sites including Facebook, Tumblr, and Instagram. He managed to turn showcasing his art online into a successful art show debut in just a year's time.

Brizuela is 19 years old. His parents moved to the States from Argentina before he was born, where they raised Brizuela and his four older siblings. Brizuela says he shares his artistic talent with his mother and his brother, both of whom draw and paint.

"My mom always did watercolors, and tried to get me to when I was little, but I was never really that great at it," says Brizuela.

Brizuela says he started drawing when he was about 5 years old, but invested more time in art when he was a sophomore year of high school. Ultimately, it was his lack of interest in his classes that helped inspire him to get back into his art.

When describing his art, or giving it a name, the artist doesn't have an exact answer. His fans have called it surrealism. But Brizuela says his newer work has parted from description, although to what he isn't sure.

"I don't even know how I [make art], I just put on music -- I really, really, really love music -- and I just listen to it and think, and something will just come out," says Brizuela. "I don't really sit down to draw, I sit down to think about something. I don't know if it's meditation, but it's something like that. And then, by the time it's all done, something is there and I just have to polish it up."

Brizuela started to experiment with acrylic paint markers and regular markers, in addition to his originally used pens. He doesn't use digital programs, unless he feels like changing or manipulating the colors he used to draw.

He graduated from Peoria High School in 2011 and moved to Tempe. He says moving away from Glendale sparked his interest and participation in the downtown Phoenix art scene.

Brizuela says he didn't necessarily intend on trying to get his art out there -- not any more than he had already done -- but that the stars must have aligned, because within a week of moving to Tempe he got a call from Jorge Ignacio Toress from Palabra. Brizuela says local artist Ashley Macias had recommended his work to Toress who offered him a show.

"I wanted this art show to be simple, and not too overwhelming, 'cause I didn't know what to expect," says Brizuela. "I thought it was just going to end up being my friends and me, and we're just going to hang out -- that's really what I expected."

But turnout was huge. Brizuela says hundreds of people came through the gallery and looked at his work on the walls.

"I couldn't really believe what was happening, all these strangers coming out," says Brizuela. "People looking at my art -- like really looking. It was cool, definitely a good response."

Brizuela says Bask isn't his artist name, but rather a company name that he uses to sell his work. His future plans include more art shows, and a lot of traveling.

"I want to continue to be able to live off of art, and not have to worry about money," says Brizuela. "I want to travel. That's the main reason why I started this company. I want to be able to get my art everywhere. But not just get my art everywhere ... I want to get me everywhere. I want to see everywhere."

For more information on Josh Brizuela and Bask, visit his website or follow him on Tumblr.

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