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About the Artist

Born in Glasgow Joe studied drawing and painting at Glasgow School of Art from 1970-74 under Danny Ferguson RSW. RGI., James Robertson RSW.RGI.RSA.PAI. and Dr. David Donaldson RSA.RP.RGI.LLD.D.LITT (Queens Limner).

Joe is proud that his skills were honed in one of the greatest periods of Scottish artistic training; when drawing and painting and how to use materials were rigorously taught. He describes taking several hours to complete a single study of a model and then being asked to finish multiple fifteen minute paintings of the same model in the afternoon – which in turn challenged him to depict the difference between a tight and a more energetic, spirited drawing. He asserts that many of his best drawings were when he used his instincts rather than using every last detail of observation.

You get some insight into how he has chosen to apply his training roots when he references renaissance art and the romantic period and uses such terms as ‘elegant’, ‘swashbuckling’ and ‘aspirational’.

The character ‘Sniffy’ follows Joe throughout his paintings, he looks bumptious but likeable and he has now become almost universally famous. In creating the personality, who someone suggested ‘looked a bit sniffy’, he was unaware that the character would provoke such a strong response and positive reaction. The character allows him to create humorous narratives or little playlets as he invites the viewer to pour over his studies and interpret the various symbolic devices and metaphors contained within his little ‘happenings’ or compositions. Sniffy is always in profile and as of now, Joe is unsure of where Sniffy's journey is going, or when it will end.

Joe's paintings combine the old Masters which influence with the new styles in modern art to produce ‘tongue in cheek’ surreal situations for you to enjoy.

Perhaps it’s because Joe's paintings are colourful and attractive in their portrayal of fine homes or art galleries. They depict the sort of rooms most people would love to own. Some say it’s the good value of the winning formula, where you may feel there’s a ‘2 for the price of one’ bargain in having a still life along with a deftly portrayed likeness of an old master, classic or favourite painting.

Look closely and you will see how cleverly loose and modern is the handling. Yet step back and you could be looking at the original, as the eye fills in between the brushstrokes and sharpens the image in true impressionist style. If not, the picture may be larger or played with to achieve humour in the composition.

Add to this the ‘goings on’ shenanigans with the animals portrayed and the placing of recurring symbols like books, wine glasses (The finer things in Life) or the ubiquitous burger (Modern lifestyle). Moreover, when you also enjoy the irony in the punning titles, you may be right to think they are popular due to their humour and wit. - I. M. Clarke, MA (Glas) (Art Critic).

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