Born and raised in New York state, Josh Schechtel painted and drew from the time he was old enough to hold a crayon. He pursued drawing, painting and ceramics, but left his art studies behind after graduating high school. Throughout college and for many years afterwards, his art consisted of handmade collaged greeting cards for family and friends. His work and studies took him around the country and overseas, and eventually to San Francisco.
After nearly 25 years, Josh decided that his painting could no longer remain dormant, and he began studying in the Fine Arts Department at UC Berkeley Extension. He has also studied at San Francisco City College and the Mendocino Arts Center, and his instructors have included Eva Bovenzi, Linda Hope and Robert Burridge.
Working in acrylic on canvas and paper, Josh paints work based on several themes, including the topography of San Francisco, streetscapes, and natural forms. His streetscapes examine the intersection between nature and the structures of our society, and how this creates a unique sense of place. In his studies of natural forms, he often examines an everyday object, such as a leaf, in very close proximity, appreciating the fine patterns or forms contained within it. His paintings have become more abstract over time; the result of his focus on the elements that create a mood or emotional response. Nonessential details are removed, the rules of perspective are minimized, and the result is a group of colored planes, interacting to create an atmosphere without necessarily containing any recognizable features. Mood is depicted through the use of color, line and abstract form, without strongly defined positive and negative spaces, leaving room for interpretation by the viewer.
Josh maintains a studio in the Mission District of San Francisco, and has only recently begun to exhibit his paintings.