Joe DeCamillis

Region: South

I am the product of an American mobile culture that runs deep and far–back to pioneer days, wagon trains, the boom of paved highways, Route 66, and on up to congested lane-multiplying interstates of today. Our culture and fabricated environments continue building up around the auto at a frantic pace. Drive to work, take kids to school, fast food, shopping malls, and of course vacation–the Classic American Road Trip. My fondest memories center on trips like the annual summer tour of Kentucky State Parks or the first long vacation to D.C. in the 60's.–family of 6 crammed in a Beetle.

Over 17 years as visual artist, my subject matter and style changed slowly but dramatically–from loose bright paintings on board to dramatic scenes of everyday America painted like Dutch Masters on metal. I pushed the extremes of scale until 2002 when I painted smaller than postage stamps. The audience had to get close to see what was going on. There was intimacy. People slowed down to notice details. They read my stories, they studied my visual poems.

My new works owe much to my poetry studies at UCLA. Like poems, they use elements of structure, style, mechanics, and content to build layers of meaning. The elements consist of a painted image, an old book, book title, found and created text, and found objects. Each one can carry multiple meanings. I ruminate my life experiences and personal observations of culture, society, and history while I begin handling one of the elements. I work the others in until they all unite as a complete work of art.