December 16, 2020

Five Questions with Joseph “JD” Green: Artist

Artist JD Green, who will be leading the “Blind Contour Drawing” Workshop at INVT21, talks about how he is inspired by Black history, is challenged by wanting to like his own work, and has grown to accept art as his profession.

Artist Joseph “JD” Green’s work demonstrates an eye for detail combined with a penchant for quick handwork. His process involves creating preliminary sketches from source imagery found online or in his imagination, and the disciplines represented in his work include printmaking, drawing, painting, and ceramics.

As you’ll see in his answers to our questions below, JD—like many of us—grew into accepting that his art could generate income. In 2012, he joined Creativity Explored, a studio-based collective in San Francisco that partners with people with developmental disabilities to celebrate and nurture the creative potential in all of us. In 2019, he participated in CE’s first paid internship program for artists, where he helped to facilitate public art-making programs and workshops for LinkedIn, DeYoung Museum, and Twitter Studio.

On January 14, JD will be leading INVT21’s “Blind Contour Drawing” Workshop with Enrique Quintero as his Assistant Leader. We’re looking forward to working with and learning from him.

What did 2020 bring into focus for you that you want to Re:Make, Re:Think, Re:Imagine, or Re:Design for 2021?

This year is so much.

What is your relationship to the creative process?

Having an imagination and a special talent.

How or where do you find inspiration?

Communicating with other people. Learning about the system of injustice and social justice as an African-American has inspired me to make art about it. It depends on what I’m doing—learning about Black history or just making art to show how you see it. The things that inspire me motivate me.

What was one of your biggest creative challenges?

To think of what to create.

Sometimes I get stuck in the middle of what I want to do because I do so much for other people. When I’m doing art for myself, sometimes I end up liking it or not liking it, or getting mad. It’s hard to say to myself “Do I like my art?” sometimes. 

I work until I like it. It’s hard to critique my own work.

When did you first realize you needed to be in a creative field?

I started drawing when I was younger, after high school. I came to CE a year after I graduated. People used to tell me to draw to make money, but I didn’t think about it that way. Now I think about it more as a profession.

Bonus Round: What was your first job?

An internship at PG&E, rotating departments: mailroom, computers, filing ABC orders. I hated Excel.

Extra-Bonus Round: Who is one of your heroes and why?

My mom. She’s supportive with everything I do.