Creative talent Joshua Vides is having a much-due moment in the art spotlight. Over more than a decade, he has parlayed a talent for illustration into his signature black-and-white marker aesthetic. In the process, he cultivated his own key niche in art and fashion with nods to comics, pop art, and graffiti. “My art career began and exploded in 2018,” says Vides, who previously founded streetwear brand CLSC—pronounced classic—at the age of 19. “I found self-expression by creating products and collaborations. Being rooted in streetwear culture and being able to relate to objects—from gaming to sneakers—has catapulted me to the position I am in today.”
Vides’ fast-rising art stardom was affirmed with his recent installation at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA). Titled "Forever Hallway," the 40-foot, hand-painted installation marks a new achievement as his longest scale mural to date. “Through this project, my focus was on rewriting the expected relationship between an artist and a museum. I was thinking about going beyond the usual experience of art and how I could extend that conversation, how I could bring my background in sneaker culture and hype into the art world,” shares Vides. “The idea was to create a fresh, new dialogue where your mind starts to shift towards—what else can I do?”
It was a desire to find his next-level pursuit that led to a philanthropic venture with iconic sneaker company Converse. Benefitting the MCA’s community-focused mission, 30 special-edition pairs of Chuck 70 sneakers will be auctioned online from November 6 – November 13. Each unique set was designed directly from Vides’ "Forever Hallway" and will be encased in its own custom spray-painted box. While this is not the artist’s first collaboration with the footwear brand—last year, he designed a sneaker with interchangeable, Pantone panels—this project is decidedly meaningful because it allows him to pay-it-forward to the creative community that fostered his own art career.
“It is surreal to have opportunities like this because I still feel like I did five or 10 years ago, I am just trying to create,” says the artist. “I come from a low-income neighborhood, my parents are immigrants from Guatemala. This isn’t supposed to be happening for me, but I am so grateful that it is. I need to give back to show other people that what is supposed to happen for them isn’t necessarily what their lives will become, that they can also rewrite the story.”
Well beyond the arts, the Southern California native has also made his mark in fashion. Beginning with CLSC, the artist has focused broadly on developing his creative prowess. “I think art is constantly evolving. Lichtenstein and Warhol would probably have a Nike or Adidas collaboration now. The commercial route was frowned upon at that time, it was not even a discussion then,” explains Vides. “While artists are still keeping a foot in fine art, they are now showcasing their talents in different worlds. I would like to use my example to inspire other artists. I didn’t go to art school but how you succeed is being completely rewritten and I am out front showing what is possible.” In recent projects with Fendi, he has applied his sketch stylings to 3-D, tromp-l’oeil ready-to-wear and “double F” accessories. Notably, he has also partnered in creative design projects with the MLB, TikTok, Sony Pictures—and even a redesign of Harrods’ London Fendi Cafe.
In spite of his many successes, and the years of effort behind these milestones, Vides takes a level view of the acclaim that has come to him. “When I think about the future, I think about how I grow, not only as an artist, but as a human being. The time during the pandemic definitely made me reevaluate. I think everyone had that moment—thinking about the things we hang onto and what is really important. At the end of the day, what really matters to me is family, that’s my drive,” says Vides. “I would like my family to have opportunities that I didn’t. I also want to show my children my process—how I begin and how I finish, the idea of hard work. I show them my path because I feel that is a story I need to tell.”