Josh Baum

Josh Baum, Photograph by Charlotte Player
Josh Baum, Photograph by Charlotte Player
Charlotte Player

Josh Baum

Future Map 2010 exhibitor
Central Saint Martins, MA Fine Art Alumnus

Winner of the the Zabludowicz Collection Future Map prize in 2010, UAL catches up with MA Fine Art graduate Josh Baum as he reflects on his experience of taking part in the show and what he’s up to now.

Submitting work to be part of an exhibition is a key skill for emerging artists – how did you go about making sure you stood out for Future Map in 2010?

I always try to find out as early as possible where about in a space the work is to go and spend some time feeling what kind of energy the place has - this usually involves some pacing and just sitting in the space.

How do you think being part of Future Map helped you establish yourself in the early stages of your career?

Future map was great for me, it led to being invited to join several group shows with some of my fellow exhibitors. A choreographer also came to see the show and commissioned me to make 10 sculptures which we toured with her dance company.

Do you have any tips for this year’s Future Map artists on preparing for the exhibition and making the most of it?

Try to use the momentum the show generates and be discerning about the opportunities which arise - they are not all useful. Say 'yes' to interviews, they are usually easy but have some stuff prepared, because some of the interviews will stay online years after the show is gone and might be the first thing people get when they 'Google' your work.

Hang around the show while it's on because I found that people were very interested to talk about the work. I made some good contacts shmoozing at the show many of whom came to subsequent shows.

How did UAL help you prepare for your career as an artist and is there anything else it could have done?

CSM was a good environment to help me to find my voice - which mostly came out of conversations with other artists on the course.

If you could go back in time what advice would you give yourself on the first day of your course? And which method of time travel would you use?

Be more open minded. It took me a while to really learn how to appreciate art. Learn to let the work speak for itself once you've made it and believe in the things you make. Never apologise for them - because they came from you.

In terms of [a time-]travel method, I would use the method of regressive-propulsion. There are two ways I know how to do this. The safest one is to arrange pairs of shoes in order of age going as far back as you can - you will need about two hundred pairs for every year of travel. 

Start with something quite recent, say for example Topman dessert boots. Go through '50s brogues, Victorian buckle shoes, maybe a pair of purple Medieval felt boots until you reach some kind of sandal. The shoes should be a footstep apart and the traveller is to run barefoot between them until he/she hears a loud pop. If you don't hear the pop you are not doing it correctly. 

What’s been the greatest achievement of your career so far?

I have written a collection of short stories which I am quite proud of and the Sculpture tour with the dance company was a dream gig. However, in terms of public recognition, winning Future map 2010 is still probably my biggest achievement.

What’s next for you/what projects are you currently working on?

I am working on an animated film in collaboration with my brother and a book of essays about scribal art. 

I will also be part of group show lined up for 2015. My sculpture will be in one of the display cabinets at the Jewish museum in Camden as a response to the museum's collection of ritual artefacts.