Briefly describe the work you do.
I have MFAs in Painting and Ceramics and currently work in in 2D and 3D.
At what point I your life did you want to become an artist?
My parents pushed music at an early age but when I was finally allowed to go to an art camp I knew art is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. My mother and father were horrified.
Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you as an artist.
I had to fight to go to art school and I that fight stayed with me. Making art always comes first. It’s probably why I wasn’t a very good teacher.
What types of conceptual concerns are present in your work? How do those relate to the specific process(es) or media you use?
When I was a younger artist the concept or content of the work played a pivotal role. Now it’s all about the process. Ironically, my work has more content now than it did when I worried about it all the time.
We once heard Chuck Close say he did not believe in being inspired, rather in working hard everyday. What motivates you in your studio practice?
Chuck Close hmmm… I agree going to the studio every day and working hard is crucial, but inspiration lives in that space too. If something is uninspired most likely it’s not very interesting to look at. Making art is what I live for. That’s really all the motivation I need.
What artists living or non-living influence your work?
Joan Mitchell, Howard Hodgkin and Mark Rothko are the artists I always look at.I saw a retrospective of Joan Mitchell’s work in New York and a retrospective of Rothko’s work in Paris. The memory of those shows and how they made me feel stay with me to this day.
When you are not making art what types of activities and interests do you engage in?
I read, not as much anymore, but I make up for it by going to plays and the opera. My partner, Fred and I go to every exhibition we can. Hate openings but love to see what other artists are doing.
Hippie, gay activist, AIDS advocate, gypsy, art educator and ex pat have described Joe Bussell over the years, but artist defines him.
In 1979 Joe received a BFA in painting from Kansas University. By 1994 he received two MFA degrees from Washington University in St Louis. From 1993 to 1998 Joe worked as a faculty member in the School of Art at Wash U.
Over the years his work has been exhibited through out the US and in Europe. The work was reviewed in various newspapers,journals and magazines, including the US News and World Report, New Art Examiner and The New York Native. Bussell’s work has been represented by the the TAI Gallery in New York City, Urbi et Orbi, Gallery Karl Oskar and Marji Gallery in Santa Fe.
Joe lives in Rosedale, Kansas, a rural/urban nether world setting in the crossroads of Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri. This idyllic setting provides him the time to make his work, commune with nature and yet be close enough to an airport to be anywhere in the world within a few hours.
All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.
Pretty good teacher too!