Josie Love Roebuck '14

Who says you can’t be passionate about art AND athletics? Josie Love Roebuck ’14 played soccer throughout her time at GPS, earning herself Best of Preps accolades and helping her team to a Division II-AA state championship runner-up title. She was so talented, in fact, that she signed to continue her soccer career in college at Division I Georgia. Still, she was able to maintain other interests. When a series of injuries ended her college soccer career, she began pursuing her other love—art. In 2019, she earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Georgia and in 2021, her Master of Fine Arts from the University of Cincinnati. While at UC, she became an adjunct art professor and taught foundations drawing, upper-level drawing, printmaking, painting, and a special 2D course. This past year, she taught art full-time at Northern Kentucky University. She is also a working artist, creating portraiture and tapestry-like quilts and wood cutouts, and is represented by Latchkey Gallery in New York City.

Q. Did you always know you wanted to pursue art as a career? If not, when and how did you start exploring that opportunity?
A. Art has always been a passion of mine, something I’ve enjoyed since I was little. As a child, I took art classes with Erin Chapin and folk art classes with Nancy Mehne, both on Lookout Mountain. I especially loved my art classes at GPS and worked closely with Mrs. McCall. During that time I focused more on ceramics/sculpture and thought I might major in that in college. I chose a Special Education major instead, however, which is another passion of mine. But I never felt fulfilled in Special Ed., so I decided to apply to the art school at Georgia and was accepted. I changed my major to art shortly thereafter. It was after an artist’s residency one summer at The Chautauqua Institution in New York that I devoted all my attention to my art and what kind of career I could have with it.

Q. What inspires your art and why are you passionate about what you do?
A. My life experiences and others around me inspire my work. My artistic process addresses the contemporary complexity of identifying as biracial and being adopted by a white family. The narratives I share are intertwined within my tapestry-like-quilts, wood cutouts, and plushy sculptures. Mostly, I’m inspired by those who rise above traumatic experiences and still thrive and even blossom. I’m passionate about what I do—sharing stories through art. It allows people to get a glimpse of what life is like for others and what life can be for themselves. It invites them into empathy and courage.

Q. What was your favorite tradition at GPS? Why?
A. One of my favorite GPS traditions has always been May Day. It is one of my happiest experiences during my time in high school, a celebration between classes and a break from the grind of academics.

Q. If you could offer one piece of advice to current GPS students, what would it be?
A. My advice to current GPS students is to never let anyone get in your way. Never let other people’s opinions or fears stop you from going after what makes you happy.  Trust yourself and, most importantly, remind yourself to celebrate every big or little success. You’re worth it.

Q. Do you stay in touch with your classmates? What impact have they had on your life?
A. I met a lot of wonderful people during my time at GPS and had a lot of close friends during that time. There are a few that I am still in touch with, and I’m thankful for those friendships. 

Q. What is your proudest accomplishment thus far?
A. There are a lot of things that I can celebrate, but there are two I want to highlight. After graduating with my MFA, I had a solo presentation with my gallery at NADA House in New York. During this exhibition I was featured in the New York Times in an article by Roberta Smith. The other accomplishment I am proud of is from this past fall, when I was part of a group exhibition in Austria, “The New African Portraits. Shariat Collections.” A catalog book of this exhibition was published and will be available on Amazon and at Target, and there’s an essay about my work by Dr. Myrah Brown Green. 

Q. Can you point to anything that GPS did to prepare you for college and your career?
A. GPS did a great job preparing me for college. Surprisingly, I found the coursework load to be much easier at UGA than at GPS. GPS also did a great job promoting me in the community, as well. I was featured in a number of newspaper articles. Patrick Winecoff and Leland Strang did an excellent job being my soccer coaches (GPS and Club) and helping me prepare for collegiate-level athletics.

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