The Crown seeks to give exposure to local and international artists through The Crown Gallery, and hosts new artists each quarter. The Crown Gallery is currently accepting submissions for the Winter of 2022, and is seeking artists who approach issues related to environmental sustainability, intersectionality, the City of Oakland, and of course, coffee. Contact us here with the subject “Call for Artists” if you want to apply!
As curator and Creative Director here at The Crown, I do a series of interviews with our artists so that everyone can hear what inspires them. The coffee industry is comprised of people with multifarious passions, and during my time as a coffee professional I have encountered people steeped in disciplines as disparate as music composition and astrophysics. It only seems fair to give time to one group I have met most frequently in the coffee industry: visual artists. So join us for an exploration of the natural world, Bay Area culture, and our favorite beverage with the resident artists at The Crown Gallery.
Joshua Farr is a multi-disciplinary artist combining digital and analog sound and film to capture moments of “delightful mediocrity,” focusing on the beautiful mundanity of daily existence on The Way Back Home.
A native to the Bay Area, Farr’s artwork mirrors the natural and industrial beauty that has become synonymous with Northern California. This art is created with the intention to create space to pause and delight in the artwork of the Creator that envelops us.
“What we Have, What we Choose” will be on display from June through September 2022!
Joshua is having an Artist’s Reception on Saturday, July 16th from 1pm to 4pm at The Crown!
Evan Gilman: When did you start making art? Was there a first medium you fell in love with?
Joshua Farr: As a kid I enjoyed rock tumbling, magic, and science, anything that took something “boring” and made it into something. I didn’t get my first camera until I was in my teens, but I quickly became the family photographer.
EG: Getting into the flow of making art is a very specific feeling. Can you describe the feeling you get when you have creative inspiration?
JF: It’s an almost possessive state of curiosity. In my music, it’s a desire to share the complexity of my emotional state, where words fail. With visual art, I think of it as creating a mirror – a way of telling the world “I see you where you are and that’s okay”.
Like many, I struggle with my mental health at times, So I might make a song that uses arpeggiations and reversed melodies to create a melancholic memory, while pairing it with imagery of something structural and busy – as if to say “my mind is lamenting the exhaustion that the structure of daily life can bring”.
EG: Does coffee influence your art or the way you make it?
JF: I think a good cup of coffee before a shoot or session really can improve everyone’s outlook! I like to do breathing techniques while waiting for my coffee to be made, but honestly anything that lets you switch from your phone’s clock to your internal clock will really mentally prepare you to be present to the moment.
EG: Cafes have been central to many art movements; what are your favorite local cafes that function as meeting places for artists?
JF: The first cafe I frequented in Oakland was Actual Cafe. It was the first space I saw that was also used for performances and galleries. Sal also did a great job of letting the community help out where they could. I still remember helping clean out the cafe and eating pizza with them, it was the first time I experienced what makes Oakland so special.
EG: Your photos really communicate the feel and light of the Bay Area – are there any other places on your bucket list to photograph?
JF: So many places!! My wife and I have yet to take our honeymoon (thanks 2020) and I cannot wait to capture France with her. I also want to spend some time in Atlanta and Chicago and go back to Texas, as I have family from those places.
EG: If I’m not mistaken, you’ve also put together a good amount of music? What would be the most fitting soundtrack for your photos?
JF: I do! I make music under Yate & Jack Sriracha – Yate are the soundscapes I mentioned earlier, Jack Sriracha is for having fun commercially.
The most fitting soundtrack for my photography is an album called “Flowers and Weeds” by Joe Shoemaker. It’s one of maybe four albums I have loaded on my Light Phone for when I go out for photo walks. Shoemaker’s collage-like sound manipulations create so much room for thought and curiosity, like a cozy cottage in your mind. 10/10 would recommend.
EG: Many of your photos are warm and dreamlike, but also very literal, true to life. What are you looking for when you’re out shooting?
JF: Moments. I am looking for things that will trigger memories for me when I look at pictures later. I love storytelling and have a troubled memory at times, so I capture with the hope of being able to share all the details of that day: the weather, the smells, the sounds. Things that will draw me back to Home
EG: What was the best part about showing at The Crown? (this can be for after the show goes up if you like!)
JF: Honestly – the whole experience from Evan first asking to now has been truly a dream come true. I’ve done so many firsts in Oakland, artistically speaking, so to have my first show here as well really feels special. Thanks again!
EG: What’s your go-to coffee drink, and what do you think that says about your personality?
JF: It’s a toss up between desired experiences! If I can, I generally will order an espresso “for here” (no sparkling water because I hate making extra dishes) with either a drip or an iced oat latte to go. I love getting to tell baristas their shots are pulling well, but I also try to not be complicated or mess with the flow. I enjoy getting to speak joy into people and I also love coffee. That’s all there is to it!
EG: Anything you’d like to add or promote? Do you have any current projects you’re working on that you’re particularly excited about?
JF: I just want to share with everyone: Pause. Take a breath, find joy in making it this far in life. Find peace in knowing you’re only accountable for today. You’ve got this.
That’s all! Feel free to reach out with projects or questions or prayer requests to @brotherfarr on IG, twitter, and gmail. Time for a coffee. Bye!