Artist: Joseph Beckles
Joseph Beckles lifelong body of work was influenced by his rich experiences from childhood through adulthood. He would speak of his rural childhood memories in Jamaica, remembering running barefooted over the land and making his own toys from found objects and nature’s bounty. Beckles was also, emotionally deeply moved by his African heritage. “It is the responsibility of the individual to recognize their blessings made possible from their ancestors. Once they recognize their blessings they should use them in a positive light” (Joseph Beckles 1980). A descendent of Africans, out of Ghana, describing his visit, Joseph Beckles said, “I felt like a lost soul returning home to my birthplace.” (Ghana 2003). Beckles writes “…building a form is easier than releasing a form from inside the wood.” This desire began his twenty-five year love affair with wood.
Beckles produced these artworks using the traditional European tools of chisel and hammer; the West African Adz. In 1995 Beckles turned to welded steel as a corresponding vehicle through which to express his ideas. A series of collaborative works followed and Joseph Beckles invited known Los Angeles artists such as Jane Castillo and Abel Alejandre to add their creative sensibilities to his metal-multimedia sculpture. This series of sculptural works entitled “Remembrance”, integrated painted surfaces and found materials such as rubber, wire and wood into each finished piece.” In 2004, Beckles final works were generated by forging molten steel into organic abstractions and forms of a personal nature.