Las Vegas Artist Extraordinaire, Joseph Watson. Photo by Ryan Reason

“My art turns bad experiences into something good. Its a tool for happiness, a reminder of potential and a recipe for success.” – Joseph Watson

Sometimes its not all about photography and most certainly this blog is not all about me. So for a little twist, I thought I’d do an interview with another artist, who’s doing it big here in the Vegas scene. Maybe about 2 months ago, I was down at the Arts Factory just perusing through some of the new galleries and came across a fella I hadn’t seen before. I loved the style of his art. And the overall vibe you get from his studio is that of something refreshing, new, and different. THEN… out of the corner of my eye, I spotted MY PIECE! I gotta say it connected me with this artist because it so resembled what I do. I bought a print on the spot.

“The Color of Women”, The Joseph Watson Collection

Folks, let me introduce you to Joseph Watson of The Joseph Watson Collection. The piece I so identified with is his magnificent creation of “The Color Of Women”. I identified so well with it because it embodies what I do in my photography of nude women. I shoot all different sizes, shapes, ages, and ethnicities of women. My nudes aren’t just about glamour and fashion, but real women with flaws and imperfections who are just as beautiful. Mr. Watson embodies that same spirit in this work and I had to have it.

“Shopping on a Gloomy Day”,
The Joseph Watson Collection

Joe personifies cool, better than most artists I know. The man is confident and he knows he’s talented, but a forensic scientist would not find in him even a hint of ego. Fifteen minutes after meeting the man, he’s already schooling me on his iPad about ways I can expand my own art and showed me different websites that can help with that. He’s big on promoting the Vegas art scene and  other local artists. I think that’s what I like more than anything else about the guy. I can appreciate his sense of community and his altruistic approach to art. I knew I wanted to get his story and share it with you guys.

1. So when did you go “all in” as an artist as a profession? And do you think you’d still be in this had you not started with those T-shirts long ago?

I went “All In” with the art profession back in 1989. This was when I was in high school and desperate to get a new job. I was employed at a snack bar at a local swapmeet at the time. My daily wage was just enough to fill my tank with gas. One day I was offered the chance to display and create airbrushed T-shirts on a busy street. I called in sick one day, set up on the busy street, and made over 10 times my daily wage…… off of something that I loved to do. If I didn’t start off with shirts, I might of taken another career path.

2. Did you always have family support? You weren’t ever encouraged to “get a real job”?

I always had family support. Everything from my folks critiquing my art to my brother helping me run an airbrush business. I don’t think that I was encouraged to get a real job after everyone discovered my true talent. Even now, my wife supports me to the fullest.

3. How many times in that first year did you ask yourself whether or not you should do something else and what made you push through anyway?

Not many times at all. I believe that my level of confidence was a little high in my early years.

4. No man is an island. Who mentored you early on in this career choice and why were they particularly effective in inspiring you? 

Fortunately, I had excellent mentors. Here are a few: Mister Cartoon (world famous tattoo artist), Jon Davis (designer), Donavin Howard (Disney Layout artist). Mister Cartoon gave me golden advice in high school. He was a direct connection between who I was as an artist at the time and who I wanted to be in the future. These mentors are responsible for all of my success and determination. I do plan to pass the torch when the time comes.

“Something from Nothing”, The Joseph Watson Collection

5. On the flip side of that, how did you deal with naysayers? A poor economy? And other challenges you may have faced?

Believe me, there were many people against me that tried to break me down. It just made me stronger. The best thing to do is to prove them wrong. The challenges that I faced during my college years (Art Center College of Design) were financial, long commuting, lack of sleep and absence of a formal art education. Being a student at Art Center was a life changing experience. It gave me the conept that nothing is impossible. Dealing with today’s economy is quite challenging. I like to provide an experience for everyone who visits the gallery. Whether they buy or not, they will leave the gallery enriched with a creative experience. Believe it or not, I was quite shy during my early years. Explaining the concepts of my art to many people enabled me to overcome shyness.

6. There are a lot of good artists out there who have no clue how to market themselves. Where did you acquire your business sense? Where you always entrepreneurial-minded? 

I acquired my business sense from my mentors and just pure mileage. Many mistakes were made along the way. With every mistake that was made, I gained knowledge on what not to do in the future. My commerce maintains my creativity. It’s not all for the money. Its about getting my ideas out there to as many people as possible and letting my ideas fuel their ideas. It’s one big chain reaction. You never know who you inspire. The people who inspire you might actually be inspired by you.

7. What do you regularly read to help keep you inspired, driven, and current on the latest art trends? 

“Elements of Success”,
The Joseph Watson Collection

Honestly, I don’t get to read as much as I like. I read many random things on the internet, etc. As far as current art trends go, I go to different conventions such as Art Expo, Liscensing Expo, and other industry conventions to see what is current. My biggest inspiration is everyday life. The dynamics of ups and downs is enough for me to work with and develop into a marketable work of art. Everyone goes through good and bad times. My art turns bad experiences into something good. Its a tool for happiness, a reminder of potential and a recipe for success. I guess that you can say that my art is an investment in yourself.

8. Who do you mentor? Are you involved in any community projects that help young Las Vegas artistic hopefuls? 

I mentor anyone who desires to get mentored. Usually, people that I mentor are trying to break into the art profession. These are various students from many different schools that come to my gallery. I am involved in many community projects. ZAP project, children’s book readings, etc. One of the projects that I am focused on now is called Go, Go, Greta! This is a children’s book that author Dana Satterwhite and illustrator (myself) created. We now have a huge local following and sell these wonderful children’s books at the gallery. It’s a book about encouragement and accomplishment. You can check out what we are doing at

9. Here’s a little rapid fire for you:

a. What was the last movie you saw? Tourist
b. Favorite two places to eat in Vegas? The Burger Bar, and  Bar and Bistro at the Arts Factory
c. A quote that often comes to mind? Never underestimate the Underesimated
d. Monet or Manet? Monet
e. A particular charity or cause you like to support? St. Judes & March of Dimes

10. When are we going to see some international urban scene inspirations like an authentic Italian or Asian cafe/market? (Just a suggestion, but I’d like to see what characters you might come up with from spending a little time at Wal-Mart at about 2 a.m. on the weekend!) 

Hopefully soon! I’m working on a chef series now.

11. Outside of the art scene, what else fascinates you about Las Vegas? 

Radio controlled airplanes, restaurants, theatre, my wife and KNPR.

12. How long before things pick up in Vegas again? Will the new First Friday concepts make a splash?

The wheels are spinning faster now. I assume that the Christmas rush will boost the economy. The new First Friday will be a great thing to participate in. I beleive that new opportunity will arise. It’s all about adapting and finding out how and where you fit in. With our current exhibit ‘Oh…Nature’ featuring artist Shark Toof, we have really raised the bar. Shark Toof is an internationally recognized artist that has a “must see’ show at our gallery. It deals with human personna and nature.

13. If Mayor Goodman pulled you to the side and asked you to give her one good idea to help downtown Vegas, other than “Buy lots of my art and exhibit it everywhere!“, you’d say what? 

Keep up the good work!

“Blue Soul”, The Joseph Watson Collection 
14. When my daughter said she wanted to become a photographer, I was like, “Why in the world would you want to do that?” What if you had a kid that wanted to become an artist? 

I would give full support.

15. What’s next for the Joseph Watson Collection? And where would the ideal place be for a new public Joseph Watson Gallery? The Airport, maybe? 

The Joseph Watson Collection has a great plan for the future. Our messege is universal. We are taking steps to become a nationally respected gallery. Our artist roster is growing and our integrity is rising. Thanks to all of the supporters, fans and followers for making this possible. I would like to see our gallery on every television screen in America and beyond. I would also like to expand the gallery into every major city in the US as well as a location in Canada and Switzerland.

Check out more of Joseph Watson and the Joseph Watson Collection by visiting his website. Oh, be sure to take a look at his video below. You can see how how he creates a masterpiece a digital drawing of a St. Bernard/Chiuaua mix! And feel exceedingly free to BUY some of his artwork! You’d be doing yourself a favor! That’s why I bought it. Follow him on TWITTER / TUMBLR / FACEBOOK / RSS !

“I guess that you can say that my art is an investment in yourself.” – Joseph Watson