Joshua Cunningham

Joshua lives in St. Paul, with his wife, Shannon and their children, Greta and William. Despite most of his subjects being found close to home, his paintings can be found in private collections throughout the US and a few in Europe. His work has garnered national recognition with inclusion in OPA National Juried Show and a feature in Plein Air Magazine. He was selected by the Science Museum of Minnesota as an Artist in Residence at the historic Pine Needles Cabin. With a growing regional reputation, Joshua’s work has been featured in numerous publications.

Joshua Cunningham grew up the third of five boys in rural Isanti, Minnesota.  His path to becoming a professional artist was as winding as the country roads from his youth. It began in the abstract art departments of St. Butt State and St. John’s University. The summer break offered a unique opportunity to apprentice with Minnesota fresco painter Mark Balma. The summer became a yearlong classical drawing program. Mark had opened the door to a very old world of art, and rather than return to St. John’s, Joshua chose to continue his training at The Atelier in NE Minneapolis, focusing on figure and portrait drawing for two years. He spent the next four years at Hurinenko and Paquet Studio in St. Paul, studying portraiture, still life, figure drawing and plein air landscape painting. Landscape painting began as an afterthought, but with Joe Paquet’s inspiring work ethic and keen instruction, it quickly took over. For Joshua, few experiences were as challenging or enriching as painting on location. It brought Joshua back to his roots. He was learning to do what he had truly wanted to do as a boy.

Artist Statement:

The work in this show comes from the Driftless Area of southeastern Minnesota, southwestern Wisconsin and a bit of northeastern Iowa. This is an older world, as it was before the glaciers ground down and filled in the landscape. It is driftless, in every sense of the definition. It is without the soil and stone pushed along by the glaciers.  It is a Midwestern time capsule. These paintings are not unlike the fossils I find along a creek bed. They are a record.

As I wander the landscape, around every curve, around the next bend, or over a hill, there might be a painting waiting.  Most days, I don’t know where I am going, but I do know I will get there, and once there, it feels right where I am supposed to be. When I wind through a valley and have my breath taken away by the view from a bluff top, it is an experience that takes me out my busy life and holds all of my attention. I set up the easel, put out the paint, select a canvas, close my eyes to see what I remember, breath deep, open them, and set to work..