LA BICICLETTA 2021: INTERVIEW WITH ARTIST JOSH QUICK
We’re lucky to have the work of Josh Quick, an illustrator based in Missoula, Montana, on several of our DOMA coffee projects—maybe you’re familiar with the quirky and lovable scene on The Chronic coffee can or bag, or The Chronic Super Dank. When it came time to freshen up our look for one of DOMA’s classic coffees, La Bicicletta, we knew Josh was the artist to go to. A coffee that supports seriously cool people deserves seriously cool art. Josh delivered. Josh is someone who tells stories through his art, so we decided to tell his story as an artist. Our copywriter Lisa Laughlin asked him about his art process, storytelling through illustration, and his thoughts on the new La Bicicletta art.
Lisa Laughlin: Can you tell me a bit about your art style and how you arrived at your medium, so full of personality and recognizable style?
Josh Quick: My mom is a ceramicist and my brother a woodworker. Art was always just a thing that flowed freely through my home growing up. We had all types of creative inspiration floating around like comic books, skateboard magazines, Eastern philosophy literature and psychedelic motifs. My cartoonish style started there and has transformed with time. Also, many of my friends are amazing artists and knowing them has kept me authentic with my drawing.
L: How do you use your art to tell authentic stories?
J: Much of what I draw are vignettes of characters doing things. My hope is they communicate a narrative that goes beyond cutesy two-dimensional pictures. For example, with La Bicicletta, clearly it's a picture of two people riding bikes. But, who are these people? Are they in Idaho? Are they friends? If folks just see a cartoon, that's cool too, but I prefer to project myself into artwork when I look at it.
L: You’ve done several illustrations for DOMA. Can you say a bit about your relationship with DOMA?
J: 10+ years ago I discovered DOMA's connection to illustration through one of their postcards at Le Petit Outre in Missoula, MT. It had a wonderfully drawn picture of the roasting process made by the original La Bicicletta artist Chris Dreyer. I knew at once my artwork could fit in with their coffee products if they gave me an opportunity. I sent them a letter with some of my work and to this day we're still making cool things together!
DOMA Coffee's ethos regarding equal trade, quality, art, family owned business and environmentalism are qualities I look for in a collaborative partner and I'm proud to have my art on their products. Also, Rebecca, Terry and Shelly are lovely people and excellent communicators.
L: Are there challenges to working with an art brief when you’re a creative illustrator? Do you typically have a back-and-forth with the client or do you sort of just do the Josh Quick thing?
J: In my 20+ years of professional illustration I've been lucky to have so many excellent gigs. In my experience, most people are excited to create something for their business and it can be a fun adventure away from the daily work cycle. Don't get me wrong, I've had plenty of challenging issues that usually get resolved with discussion and iterations of the image(s). My thing is to be easy-going with the process and be a problem solver even if that means suggesting another artist.
L: What was your favorite thing about the La Bicicletta project?
J: Working with Rebecca and Shelly on this was fabulous. Also, La Bicicletta is legendary coffee. Chris Dreyer (an amazing artist) drew the original, so having my work continue in that legacy is something to be proud of for sure. I look forward to seeing this bag at friends’ and family's homes.
L: Does the color palette of the new La Bicicletta art evoke a certain feeling or idea for you?
J: From the beginning with Rebecca and Shelly direction the color palette had equal importance with the drawing. I pulled some of the yellow from the original and the other colors came from collaboration. In my opinion they feel playful, bold and will pop depending on where the bag is living.
L: Where there any challenges with creating this art?
J: I drew up a few ideas then Rebecca shared with me laser-focused vision on where to go with the visual. I took that direction and tried to make it my own. The final was truly a balanced collaborative effort.
L: Are you a cyclist?
J: For exercise I'm a runner, but I love my bicycle for transport to and from work. It's a wonderful thing to travel in an open environment and vibe with my bike-friendly community in Missoula.
L: What’s your favorite DOMA Coffee?
J: Summer Lovin' is my all-time favorite DOMA Coffee. I’m a Yirgacheffe fan and when I got to do a Summer Lovin' graphic it was the same summer my wife Tricia and I were married. We had cans of it all over the ceremonial grounds. I have real loving memories tied into that coffee.