Arts preview: Joey Monsoon finds beauty in strength

Jesse Tigges, Columbus Alive

Joey Monsoon has found his muse, and she's a bitch. Monsoon, a self-taught artist who's received much acclaim from the arts community, finds inspiration for his paintings in the hardships and difficulties that come with life. He also sees a magnificent, emotional beauty in striving through those.

"The emotion mostly revolves around what I see as our ability to endure the trials and the hardships of life," Monsoon said.

Nearly all of Monsoon's paintings, done on plywood with mainly acrylic and house paint, concentrate on thin, gangly individuals. There's a deceptive strength behind each.

"The thin structure serves as a vehicle to force that inner strength," Monsoon said. "I use the phrase a lot, 'Thin wrists require thick skin.' So the figures that seem to be on the surface more weak and weathered are [actually] the strongest inside."

It's in these ideas of strength and beauty that Monsoon has captured something special with his paintings. We all know life is hard sometimes; it's how you stand up in those moments that present hard-fought splendor. For Monsoon, beauty is more about the flaws, the pain, the strife we all endure - not the stereotypical Elysian beauty.

"[Those who] can take on those scars, whether physical or emotional, and carry on and have a great life [find] beauty far beyond any cosmetic beauty that we can have," he said.

For years, Monsoon has conveyed themes in his work about true inner beauty resulting from perseverance through hard times. What's different about his upcoming exhibit at Lindsay Gallery is he's improved his skills and techniques as a painter. Having only painted for eight years, Monsoon said he's still improving, and will continue to do so.

"Becoming a better painter and learning to use the tools allows me to deliver those expressions and emotions more successfully," he said.

If Monsoon continues to improve - his style has become quite gripping, producing an almost visceral response - who knows how powerful his work can become. That's because it's all based upon a foundation of humanistic axioms. Sure, "beauty isn't skin deep" is a cliché, but finding beauty and strength through sadness is an evocative concept that should be contemplated and embraced.

Lindsay Gallery

Opening reception 6-9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6

986 N. High St., Short North