Artist Profile: Joseph “JD” Green

Joseph Green

Do art for yourself not for other people.

An interview with artist Joseph Green

How old are you?


How long have you been painting?

Since I was little. I joined the Creativity Explored studio in 2012.

How do you come up with your ideas for painting?

Sometimes I use something in my head or sometimes I use a reference. It depends for the subject, for portraits sometimes people I know or sometimes famous people. For all my art I use a reference or something from my head. It could be a memorial or a musician I like. My favorite thing to draw or paint are portraits of people, because it’s something I’m good at doing. Since I’m best at it I like to do faces a lot. But I get bored easily, so sometimes I’ll do portraits one day, then abstract another day, a whole different I do digital drawing or ceramics. I do everything!

How long did it take you to paint the Black Women in History portraits?

That was a group a project. I did the series 2 times working with Danielle Wright, an instructor at CE. It was Danielle’s idea to do the series for Black History Month. I did it over the course of two years. It’s the same series but the first year I posted it on Instagram (@jaiyedee), but the following year I did different women exploring the same concept.

I wanted to do it because, as an African-American person, it was a learning process to learn the history and background of each woman. It started as a group project for the first series but later on I did it again with Danielle. Then we made a zine of the portraits with biographies of each of the women. Claudette Colvin was one of my favorites to learn about. She was similar to Rosa Parks that she got kicked off of a bus when she was 15. She refused to go to the back of the bus. She was pregnant too. She was before Rosa Parks, but most people don’t know about her.

Joseph Green “Claudette Colvin” 2017 © Creativity Explored Licensing, LLC, acrylic on panel, 7 x 5 inches. acrylic on panel, 7 x 5 inches
Joseph Green "Kathleen Cleaver"
Joseph Green “Kathleen Cleaver” 2017 © Creativity Explored Licensing, LLC, acrylic on panel, 7 x 5 inches. acrylic on panel, 7 x 5 inches
Joseph Green "Alice Walker"
Joseph Green “Alice Walker” 2017 © Creativity Explored Licensing, LLC, acrylic on panel, 7 x 5 inches. acrylic on panel, 7 x 5 inches

What art are you currently working on?

I’m working on a lot. Working on abstract paintings and some landscapes with oil pastels.

Joseph Green "Untitled'
Joseph Green “Untitled” 2018 © Creativity Explored Licensing, LLC, acrylic on panel, 7 x 5 inches. oil pastel on paper, 17.25 x 23.25 inches

What other interests do you have?

I like video games, especially PS4. When I buy a new game I stick to one game until I beat it. Sometimes we go to movies or on walks. My dad works at a roller blading rink and I go there sometimes too.

What would you like people to know about you.

I’m an artist. I inspire to live life and sell some art, maybe have a nice house one day. Living as a professional artist.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Do art for yourself not for other people. Art should be for fun not because you have do something for somebody.

Learn more about artists Joseph Green and Gerald Wiggins and Creativity Explored in the Art Changes Lives (2017) video below.

About Joseph ‘JD’ Green

“Prince” 2018 © Creativity Explored Licensing, LLC, acrylic on panel, 7 x 5 inches. mixed media on leather jacket, modeled by Joseph JD Green
Joseph “JD” Green’s (b. 1993, San Francisco) 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, sometimes combining these into a new composition, before creating a final version. His chosen disciplines are printmaking, drawing, painting, and ceramics. For Green, art-making is an opportunity to relax, to explore his own imagination, and to engage others in conversation about what he is creating. See more about Joseph here. You can purchase his art here.

About Creativity Explored

For the past 36 years, Creativity Explored has given artists with developmental disabilities the means to create and share their work with the community, celebrating the power of art to change lives. Located in the vibrant cultural and dining corridor that crosses San Francisco’s Mission District, Creativity Explored provides a supportive studio environment, including individualized instruction from mentoring artists, quality supplies, and professional opportunities to exhibit and sell their art. The organization establishes these artists’ work as an emerging and increasingly important contribution to the contemporary art world.

Founded by Florence and Elias Katz in 1983, Creativity Explored has expanded to two locations: the main gallery and studio on 16th Street in San Francisco’s Mission District, and a second studio in nearby Potrero Hill. Gallery programming now includes five exhibitions per year, with more than 10,000 people visiting the gallery and studio annually.

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