Claremont-based contemporary artist Joe Carton, says his art imitates life—if that’s true we’re apt to call him Joe Cartoon.
Your work primarily features symbols such as diamonds, eyes, halos, the #7, horseshoes –what’s the story there?
Of late, many paintings have incorporated imagery related to luck, enlightenment, man’s ruin, the fool’s journey, and other themes.
An important component of my work is that pieces use images pulled from popular culture. These images, whether subtle or blatant, serve as reminders of society’s impact on an individual.
Cartoon characters also appear to play a large role in your work, why is this?
I’ve always loved cartoons. Bungling, anxiety-filled characters, placed in normal situations. Simple drawings showing the features of their subjects in exaggerated ways. Art imitates life you could say. I was almost hit with a falling anvil last week.
It looks like you work with only a few mediums, what are they?
I currently work with acrylic paint on raw canvas. I prefer raw canvas for the clean surface it provides and how the paint plays with the texture of the canvas. The paint is applied in many layers to achieve the desired effect. Once finished, each painting is stretched on wooden canvas stretchers and its surface is coated with a varnish.
Your background is in sculpture, what made you decide to spend your recent years working with printmaking and painting?
I have a deep love for sculpture, but realized painting and printmaking were still my passion after college. In many ways, my paintings are “assembled” much like my sculptures were, so there was little transition back to painting for me.