My work is an outward manifestation of my own internal dialogue and reaction to a tumultuous and information overloaded world. Subject matter flows from the political and societal challenges of today and seeks to confront the absurdities of institutionalized and individual dogmas. My choice of subject matter stems from a culturally diverse, urban, working-class perspective. Visually, my imagery comes from a sort of muscle memory of engagement within the blue-collar environs of New York City during my coming of age in the 1970s and 80s. This has led to a visual language that utilizes symbolism found within, and representative of this environment. A loaded paint brush, marker, pastel stick, or welder in my hand, automatically seeks to create marks, line, shape and blocks of color tending towards a modernist graffiti, graphic, and neoexpressionist influence. Each of these are ingredients that if taken alone would be truly abstract, but combined form readable imagery that creates a narrative. Though rooted in earlier art historical periods, I feel my work speaks in a contemporary sense to current history and subject matter.
The appearance of absurdity within my work is often employed to confront an even more absurd reality. My intention is to present the irrationality of maintaining the social status quo, and to establish that silence is no longer an option and that we all have a role to play in making a more equitable and just world for all of us. I am in no way consciously attempting to be didactic. I am instead engaging in conversation about what I find important. I am satisfying A long ago embedded curiosity. I hope it does the same for the viewer, but it is in no way required. If my work can encourage an honest internal dialogue for the viewer, and this in turn promotes a more positive and thoughtful external interaction with society, I would view my work as successful.
Originally from New York City, Joe now works and lives along the South Carolina coast. He holds an MFA in fine art from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and a BA in studio art from Coastal Carolina University.