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Woolworth Walk

Joe Zoeller

Joe was born in New York City and raised on Long Island, NY. He received degrees from Hofstra University (BS Chemistry), Purdue University (MS Chemistry), and Virginia Tech (Ph. D. Chemistry). He lives in Kingsport, TN with his wife Elaine and is an active member of the Kingsport Art Guild.

Artist Statement: Most people look at my bio and think, “Science to Art, that’s a leap.” However, it is not as big a leap as you might believe. Successful organic and inorganic chemists must represent complex 3D structures on paper using only lines and perspective, a challenge they share with representational 2D artists.

My interest in art started very young. My grandfather, who was a cement and plaster worker (and occasional street artist) specializing in figurative works, would compare his pastel and charcoal renderings with my pencil and ink drawings and gave me drawing and drafting hints. My formal introduction to painting began at Hofstra University when I took painting with Paul England. Given my preferences for strong lines and strong, vivid colors, he recommended that I consider acrylics as their properties would mesh well with my style and objectives. This was the best art advice I ever received, and acrylics remain my medium of choice.

Given that my initial drawing lessons provided by my grandfather were rooted in drafting and decorative architecture and given my scientific background, it is natural that my painting and drawing style would resemble Precisionism (represented by artists such as Charles Sheeler, early Ralston Crawford, George Ault, and Niles Spencer.) However, artists that truly excite me are the Post-Impressionists (e.g. van Gogh, Gauguin, Rousseau, etc.), Henri Matisse, Edward Hopper, David Hockney, Georgia O’Keefe (an occasional precisionist), Patrick Caulfield, Roy Lichtenstein, and Alex Katz. Based on these influences, while my paintings might lean toward Precisionism, they also incorporate generous elements of post-impressionism, modern realism, and pop art.

Techniques: Unlike my influences from the early to mid 20th century, I have access to acrylic paints which have significant advantages in my chosen style. Many of my recent paintings use acrylic paints overlaid with india ink lines to provide accents and depth. The technique is old and had been employed globally, but fell into disuse, especially in Western painting, with the advent of oil painting since the waterborne inks were incompatible with oils. Fortunately, acrylics and ink are compatible and artists again have access to this technique. The use of ink outlines over acrylic paint allows me to significantly enhance perspective and provides visual separation between colors that may be too close to provide adequate contrast or might interact.

Gallery 828-254-9234 | Soda Fountain 828-254-9210

25 Haywood Street, Asheville, NC 28801
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