Analog: What is important for you when you are creating new work? What conversation are you trying to start or messaging are you trying to convey?
Joe: It depends on the piece. Sometimes I just want to make something pretty. Even then, my mood and disposition at the time gets into the work. Other times, I’m intentionally provocative, but I always like to approach a subject in a unique way intellectually and in a design sense. I do what I call activist pieces like Vivere, which was intended to promote conversation about the proposed “energy hub” in Philly.
Analog: Being a street artist, do you feel as though you have any restrictions to what you are able to do? Do you ever push the line, and if so - what is your idea of pushing the line?
Joe: I don’t really like the term “street artist.” For me, a piece is never done until it’s been shared with the public. That’s what drives me to put my work out on the street. So the answer is no, I don’t feel it restricts what I do. It’s impossible for any honest artist not to “push the line” in our priggish culture.
Analog: Where does your biggest inspiration come from and has it changed over the years?
Joe: Mostly other artists. I’m really into Charles Burchfield right now, but I’m constantly discovering new (to me) artists that inspire me.
Analog: What has influenced your decision to pursue a career as an artist and how has it affected your life personally?
Joe: It was never a decision for me. I always knew I wanted to be an artist. When I don’t work, I lose my mind. So, my personal life would most certainly be a shamble if it weren’t for art.
Analog: In the past, you focused on smaller intricate pieces and recently you have been exploring bigger canvases. When you have a larger format to display your work, how does that effect your design process?
Joe: Strangely, as I have been getting more opportunities to create large murals from my cutouts, the cutouts themselves have been getting smaller. I love the effect of a hand cut shape blown up – it gives an organic and innocent quality to the shape and line. As for how it affects my design process – It’s very important to consider the environment that the mural will inhabit. If it’s a space where the viewer will be right up on it, I’d work bigger so the mural is ultimately more detailed and the viewer can get something from the it without having to see the whole picture plane. For a mural that will be viewed from afar, I’d make a smaller cutout - something more stylized.
Analog: Have you ever been arrested or questioned while pasting your work?
Joe: I’ve never been arrested and, I’m happy to say, most of the people I encounter while installing pieces appreciate my work. There have been a few control freaks that spazzed out on me. But that doesn’t happen very often.
Analog: Is there a certain piece that you have created, that you are most recognized for?
Joe: I think I’m recognized more for my style than any particular piece.
Analog: Do you have a certain signature when you are creating a piece of work? Is there some hidden Easter egg in your work?
Joe: No. The limitations inherent in the medium are challenging enough to deal with.
Analog: A little over a year ago, there was a dispute over Saint-Gobain’s ‘Future Sensations’ plagiarizing your work, how do you overcome this situation and what advice would you have for other up and coming artists who might be in the same position you were in?
Joe: Call out bullshit when you see it.
Analog What’s on the horizon - new work in color, new themes, new materials?
Joe: I’ve recently started working in cut metal. I’d like to expand that practice and continue to work in a monumental scale.