Joshua Gove, this week’s Summer of Art artist, started drawing at a young age, copying the animation style of TV superheroes and cartoon characters. But in high school, he really started to explore art in depth.
“My high school art teachers pushed me to dive deeper into art and steered me toward taking higher level courses,” Gove said. “That unlocked a passion for making, learning and talking about art.”
Gove decided to pursue art as a career and earned a full-ride scholarship from Alma College’s Art and Design Department.
“I grew my love and passion for art-making through exploring art, art history, gallery work and traveling for the sake of art,” Gove said. “I have art on the brain at all times, in some way, shape or form.”
His professors and fellow students challenged him, helping him expand his knowledge and hone his skills. After graduating from Alma College, Gove, 24, took classes at Central Michigan University to get certified as a K-12 art teacher.
“I realized after Alma College that I wanted to teach, because I worked with youngsters at the Ann Arbor Art Center, teaching art summer camp classes,” Gove said. “I am in my third summer there.”
Gove has worked to develop a personal style and aesthetic.
“I love color, pattern and cultures,” Gove said. “My travel experience intertwined with a love of language and a love of art, and I naturally incorporate that into my work.”
The key to art, he explained, is having both a wild imagination and a passion to improve one’s skills.
“We often forget that art is always around us and that the world needs artists,” Gove said. “I would like all people to understand that art isn’t always about the finished product; it’s about the process.”
He stresses the goal of art should not be commercial success but personal improvement.
“Art is about learning and growing and releasing creative energy for multiple purposes,” Gove said. “It’s about the trial and error, constant adding and subtracting and many failed attempts.”
On top of teaching art classes at St. Johns Public Schools, Gove is also varsity high school tennis coach and an assistant tennis coach at Alma College, all while attending classes full time. Gove has no plans of slowing down, as he desires to continue coaching tennis and continue teaching K-12.
Gove encourages his students, as well as other aspiring artists, to have a childlike approach when it comes to art.
“One never has to grow out of art experimentation, with new and exciting avenues to be creative and expressive,” Gove said. “Sometimes, playing and experimenting with the mindset of a child is the best way to go.”
He also urges people to believe in themselves, even if no one else seems to.
“No matter what your pursuit is in life, there will be naysayers who just need to be ignored,” Gove said. “Doing what makes you happy and what inspires you and motivates you to keep going is what it’s all about.”