[EDITOR’S NOTE: Please welcome our newest Writer, 17-year old Katalia Alexander, a journalism student at Mt. Rainier High School who nearly single-handedly led a successful effort to revive the school’s newspaper during the 2016-17 school year.] By Katalia Alexander There are many wonderful artists in our area, each of whom create unique pieces of art designed to say something to our community. One such artist is Josh Manderville, a local artist who hopes his art will make people who see it smile, laugh, and consider making art themselves. Josh grew up in a family of artists; his grandfather was a World War Two veteran who enjoyed spending time in nature and doing landscape paintings of places he had seen, his father did abstract paintings and built custom guitars, and his mother enjoyed crocheting elaborate tablecloths. Creativity was encouraged in his household, and artistic skills were taught from an early age. Josh continued to prioritize art as he entered high school, organizing his schedule around the art classes that were offered and working on various art projects during his lunches and free time. Hesitant to take on a large debt and attempt to survive solely as a fine artist, Josh chose to work part time and enroll in graphic design classes at Highline Community College, which he paid for out of pocket. Josh has held several jobs since then – typesetting business cards for a print shop, arranging ads for newspapers, and, currently, designing board games – but he has continued to pursue his art in his spare time throughout all of this. Like many artists, Josh turns to his personal experiences and things he enjoyed in his childhood to inspire his art. He says, “I grew up reading Mad Magazine, The Far Side, underground comics, collecting Garbage Pail Kids, watching cartoons like Ren & Stimpy, Beavis & Butthead, and tons of horror movies. There was so much entertainment in the 80’s and 90’s that fueled my imagination. Their creators had subtle but distinct viewpoints on culture, science, and mortality, while being funny, gross or weird.” Josh channels some of these same ideas and themes in his own work. He also draws inspiration from nature, specifically “humanity’s place in nature, for better or for worse.” He says that the loss of loved ones in recent years has caused him to explore the “contrast between humor, nature, and death” more thoroughly through his art. Ultimately, Josh is the kind of artist who believes in the importance of creating art that is meaningful to the artist. He hopes his art inspires everyone to create art based on their own experiences, and he believes that the art we create today might be used to show future generations what our time was like. Art gives the artist a way to leave their mark on history and influence the way we are remembered. “Making art is a lot like putting a message in a bottle and throwing it into the ocean.” Josh says. “It might end up smashed on some rocks, but the longer it’s out there, the more interesting it might be to the person who finds it. I think everyone should take time make stuff to increase those odds.” Here are some examples of Josh’s work (click images to see larger versions): More of Josh’s art can be found on his Facebook, Instagram, and website:

If you have a story, idea, or experience you would like to share with the Burien community, please email me at kataliaalexander@hotmail.com.

Since 2007, The B-Town Blog is Burien’s multiple award-winning hyperlocal news/events website dedicated to independent journalism.