A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Josh Usmani is an artist, writer, instructor and curator. Although Josh studied painting at Cleveland State University, he has been drawing since he was six years old. Inspired by a variety of sources, Josh’s artistic influences include comic book artists from his childhood in the nineties, and groundbreaking artists of the twentieth century like Marcel Duchamp and Andy Warhol. His vibrant, detailed artwork has been featured in more than 100 local and regional group gallery exhibitions, as well as several solo shows, and is represented locally by Tregoning & Company at 78th Street Studios.

Perhaps best known for his ongoing Funny Money series of art on real currency from around the world, Josh’s work explores the value of creative expression. His negative experiences growing up in a low-income family, specifically when he decided to quit his full-time job to pursue a career as an artist just months before the economic collapse of 2008, became the inspiration for his work. After much self-reflection, he came to realize that money is a symbol for value, value itself is an abstract concept, and money is simply a unit for measuring the value of various goods and services. By drawing directly on society’s mutually-agreed upon symbols of value, Josh encourages his audience to explore their own definition and concept of value.

Josh has presented workshops, lectures and participated in panels at venues throughout Northeast Ohio, including: Artists Archives of the Western Reserve, the Cleveland Institute of Art, Cuyahoga County Juvenile Detention Center, Mandel Jewish Community Center, SPACES and more. Josh has been teaching popular kids art and cartooning classes since 2014, at institutions such as: the Cleveland Institute of Art, Campus International School, Orange Art Center and Shore Cultural Centre. Previously, Josh was Visual Arts Editor of Cleveland Scene Magazine and co-director of PopEye Gallery at 78th Street Studios.

​In early September, his work will be included in a group exhibition at the prestigious Saatchi Gallery at the Duke of York’s Headquarters in Sloane Square (London, UK), in support of the release of Cash Is King, an art book published in the U.K. showcasing more than 100 money artists from around the world. 
Back to Top