Not surprisingly, Joe has always been obsessed with comics growing up and constantly drew panels and recreated scenes featuring his favorite characters. Now his passion is his career, making Lichtenstein-esque imagery based almost entirely on Silver Age comics. More recent influences include Daniel Clowes, Chris Ware and Charles Burns.
Joe has a BA in Art History from Messiah College in Pennsylvania and has trained in drawing, painting, sculpture, screen-printing, typography and photography.
In one sense, Joe works traditionally. He sketches and fine-tunes everything first, before coloring and finishing the image. However, all of this is done digitally using the SketchBook Pro application, along with Illustrator and Photoshop.
Joe’s vintage comic book style will certainly remind you of Roy Lichtenstein’s approach to Pop Art, right down to the replication of ink dot screens that reflect 20th century printing techniques. In fact, many of the brushes and halftone patterns Joe uses in his work are of his own design.
Question: What drew you to illustration/design? Joseph: Working in the arts is something I've wanted to do since I was young. Whether it be as an artist or in a museum setting, which I did for eight years before pursuing illustration. Question: Do you have any formal design training? Joseph: Not so much in design. My degree is in Art History, though I took painting, drawing, screen-printing, and photography courses quite often. Question: Where are you originally from? Joseph: I'm originally from Freehold, New Jersey, which is also the hometown of some guy named Bruce Springsteen. Question: Where do you live now & what drew you there? Joseph: I've been living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for about ten years now. I spent a semester here while in college and fell in love with the city. So right after graduation I moved out here. Question: Where is your studio and can you describe it for me? Joseph: My studio is a tiny 1-bedroom apartment I share with my girlfriend. Most of my work is done at a desk in the corner of our bedroom, or at a table in the living room. Question: Describe the view from your studio window? Joseph: It's a parking lot, but there is a Jamaican restaurant across the way that pipes in an amazing barbecue smell through the windows in the afternoon. Question: Who or What is your biggest inspiration? Joseph: The absurd. Question: How do you get your ideas? Joseph: I usually think of some kind of overly dramatic situation, or some kind of absurd line of dialogue and try to visualize how people would act or respond in those situations.
Question: Do you collect anything? Joseph: Since I was young, I've been collecting something; comic books, action figures, trading cards. My longest lasting vice has been vinyl record collecting, which has been going on for about 10 years now. Question: Do you keep a scrapbook? Joseph: Not so much a physical one. I have a collection of found images on CDs. Question: What are your interests outside of illustration? Joseph: I absolutely love baseball. I also play Frisbee Golf quite often with friends. Question: Who are your art heroes? Joseph: Andy Warhol was the first artist I really 'got'. He just made complete sense to me. From there I discovered Roy Lichtenstein, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Alex Katz, I could go on and on. Studying art history will do that to you. Question: Who are your illustration heroes? Joseph: Mostly comic artists. Jack Kirby, John Romita Sr., Jim Lee, Frank Miller, Bill Watterson, Charles Schulz. Question: Who are your design heroes? Joseph: Charles and Ray Eames. You can tell they really enjoyed and had fun with everything they created. I secretly wish they were my parents. Question: Who are your musical heroes? Joseph: Pavement, The Smiths, Broken Social Scene, Marvin Gaye, again, I could go on and on. Music is a big part of my life. I can't quite function without it. Question: If you were not an illustrator, what would you be? Joseph: Probably still working in a museum. I actually kind of miss it. It was such a great feeling to be surrounded by art five days a week.