Over the past decades, the LGBTQ community has achieved significant accomplishments in ensuring the acceptance and inclusivity of its members in all spheres of life. However, some biases remain against the community, with individuals often shunned and subjected to harassment due to many stigmas and stereotypes implied by society.
To empower LGBTQ+ young adults, encourage positivity, and preach inclusivity of queer individuals in the art and culture industry, spirited artist and founder of The Valjan Art Collection, Josh Valjan, shares his inspiring story. “I have had a very challenging road to success. But, I take one day at a time, always working towards my goals. I have been resilient through all the challenges I have faced,” he shares.
Born to immigrant parents in Brooklyn, NYC and raised in Queens before moving to Florida, Josh Valjan is a gay man and creative artist adept with colorful brushstrokes. Josh has always had a love and passion for the arts growing up. He started drawing and painting while in high school, getting inspired by his surroundings and learning new techniques for new projects. “Drawing and painting put me in my happy place. I will always have a passion for the visual arts. I will always draw and paint. It feeds my soul,” he shares.
However, unlike many artists, Josh does not want to only create; he is intentional about creating original pieces. “I paint with intention,” he says. “I want to communicate a message and feeling, so I put much passion and dedication into my art. It’s about making those specific choices with the brush strokes, using different brushes and changing the direction of the brush strokes to alter the painting. What I love about the artwork I have already created is its uniqueness. Every single piece,” he says.
As important as creating meaningful and original projects, Josh takes care not to be a perfectionist. Instead, he remains disciplined with his creative arts, ensuring to have fun while painting and never abandoning a project halfway. He works on a project until completion, making it look its best. Peers and clients have admired his dedication and skillful pencil and brush strokes. Clients often take pictures of where they hung the artwork in their homes.
In addition to his thriving private art collection, the go-getter owns a merchandise company, which will be launching its swimwear collection soon. With his success in the art community, Josh Valjan encourages aspiring artists to follow their passion and stand out. “If you want to be a successful artist, you must give it your all. The visual art world can be very competitive. You stand out if you just be yourself. Create art you want to create. Be unique. Do something different. People don’t want to see something already done before.”
He also encourages them to seek out collaborations in the art world. “A great way to get your artwork seen is by reaching out to your local cultural alliance—Check-in with them on their terms and conditions. Most of them will take a percentage of your commission when your artwork does sell. But they will review your art and, if they like it, will reach out to local businesses, such as malls, airports, doctors’ offices, etc.,” he explained.
In the coming years, the power player wants to open a brick-and-mortar art gallery, a physical location where people can go to view his art. “Success doesn’t happen overnight. It took me years to get to where I am now in my life. I was persistent and consistent. Having your business can be very challenging. Building a brand is challenging. You have to go all-in or nothing at all. Always remember why you started it and keep that vision alive.”