It goes without saying that our teenage years are some of the toughest. Good times fly by in fast-forward and bad times seem to drag on in slow-motion. Everything is on a larger-than-life scale, in high definition, and all happening at once. Throw in hormones, high school, social media, relationships, and driver’s licenses, and you have quite a spectrum of experiences ready to transpire.
As I think about losing Josh Sward, there are more questions than answers. He was every teenager, only with his own twist. He had a robust curiosity for the world around him and innate artistic abilities with stone, metal, and wood. In the studio, we grew to know Josh as a relatable, polite, awkward, authentic, creative, adventurous and fun wise-guy. He was an ambitious problem solver and tinkerer, and more than likely, a future engineer.
But what really made Josh tick? We know that he loved mechanisms, especially the inner-workings of clocks and how all the intricate gears worked together almost magically to measure time. At Kent Bellows Studio he constantly fiddled with machine parts and tools, learning their nature and functionality. For one of his art projects, Josh created a series of modified books that had precision-crafted and intricately-positioned layers of hidden gears within them. What can we learn about Josh from this work? Was he giving us a glimpse into his own inner world?
Today, as we remember Josh and mourn his loss, it is clear that we each hold a piece of him in our hearts and minds, and that through our collective memory, he is truly complete. To honor his life, I would like to ask that all of our thoughts of Josh become revolving gears, and that his works of art become spinning cogs in the machines of our own lives. By virtue of this interconnected mechanism, Josh will continue to grow with us as family, friend, colleague and artist.