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Joe G: Light, color, and unusual form

Shea Stanfield~ 12/10/2014

CAVE CREEK – The light is eye popping, the colors iridescent, the shapes distinctively Arizona Sonoran Desert in artist Joe G’s exhilarating and vibrant desert landscapes. 

Joe grew up around art and being with artists in Elmwood Park, Ill. His grandfather was a professional, award-winning painter in the Midwest during the early 1950s.  Joe accompanied him to shows, client meetings, and worked with him in his studio.  All the while, young Joe picked up the tips and techniques of creating original paintings. Over the years Joe became weary of the gray, cold, and blank winter landscapes of the Midwest, and thoughts of relocating began to take hold.   The dream of a warmer climate in the Southwest became irresistible. Over twenty years ago, Joe arrived in Cave Creek to start a new life.

Joe describes himself as a “self-taught” artist. His preferred medium is acrylic paint. Joe explains, acrylics dry quickly, produce strong vibrant color, and he can achieve a fine, sharp line when adding in silhouette shapes. Joe draws his inspiration from his daily walks with his “best” dog French Fry.  Joe loves the serenity, beauty, and grandeur of the high desert environment. The sunsets grab Joe’s attention, as he will share with you, “I am simply captivated by the brilliance of the light and color in each evening sky, I just can’t get enough of them.” His gift to the community is his interpretation of these beautiful scenes set down on a variety of surfaces. Joe does not work from photographs; he paints what he sees, experiences, and remembers.  This has enhanced his observation skills over the years, and he finds he can recall his subjects in amazing detail.

Custom framing of each of his flat canvas has become an art form on its own.
He collects reclaimed wood, saguaro spines, snakeskins, leather, and other found objects that convey the spirit of the local landscape. Each frame is individually crafted to compliment the “personality” of the scene it will embrace. The result of this complete attention to detail is no two creations are alike. Joe believes in producing only original pieces in reflecting his philosophy that nothing in nature is ever duplicated. Joe also paints on three-dimensional surfaces, such as cleaned and bleached skulls of cattle or deer and cleaned saguaro spines. These beautifully, rendered desert scenes wrap around every corner of the shape, resulting in a visual cornucopia of space, shape, and shadow. 

Joe’s art can be purchased or commissioned by contacting him at Cowboy Joe’s Consignment, 6554 E. Cave Creek Road (just behind the Dairy Queen), (480) 299-0832. Cowboy Joe’s Consignment will be closing the end of December; all art is 30 percent off.  Western Delights Gallery 6140 E. Cave Creek Road, in Cave Creek, also handles Joe’s work; contact Peggy at (480) 488-6394.

Contact Arts Columnist Shea Stanfield at