Mountain Chic IV: Local Artist Joe Redford Jr.

k2 Studio Highlights Local Asheville Artist Joe Redford Jr.

Good afternoon to k2’s loyal followers. This is Lorna, blogger from the crew at your favorite local home furnishings studio. I had the pleasure of interviewing our featured artist, and I’m honored to share his intriguing story with you today. We hope you have been enjoying our highlights on local artists and craftsmen, and if any locally-made pieces interest you, come by the studio to see them for yourself. We’d love to talk with you about the regional folks that inspire us!

Joe Redford Jr’s Art Captures Zen in the Information Age

Originally from San Diego, Joe Redford Jr. is a self-taught multi-media artist who has been creating all his life. When he first came to Asheville, he was inspired by the diversity of its visitors, the music pouring out of venues and bands playing in the streets… He saw what many others see – a haven for artists. When he asked people their profession, he was overwhelmed by the number who responded that their work was their art. He knew that his travels would bring him back, and now he has been a resident of the Asheville for 17 years.

Redford jumped from city to countryside, enthralled with urban landscapes, but always taking reprieve in places off the grid to reconnect with nature. Because much of his influence comes from zen philosophy, he studies the natural world and the paintings of Buddhist monks. “The monks as artists are storytellers. Though black and white, the depth of the landscape or pagoda in the background, with nature in the form of a crane close-up fills the imagination.” Haiku included or not, the stories come through. If you peer at the layers he puts into the foreground and background of his own work, you can see the echoes of these classic paintings and ink drawings. Redford conveys circuit boards that resemble city maps, with grids of information swimming in each piece. The color of graffitied murals in the city come through, as well as the overpasses and congestion of traffic.

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Along the same lines of the traffic comes the plethora of ways we communicate in the modern age. This symbolism is shown through imagery of power lines and relays how difficult it can be to comprehend the big picture within the ocean of information humans must sift through daily in our culture. Redford sees this access to information as a deterrent and a blessing: “Education is more accessible, though typically throughout time, the same info has been controlled.” The downside to this information-age connectivity is mankind’s disconnect from nature. When coming up with new ideas, Redford believes that the point is always to tell a story relevant to the time you live in. “The best art is unique to a specific period of time and speaks to the individual, but can be seen differently by each eye.”

Joe Redford Jr. employs his own technique of screen printing to create his pieces. He uses reclaimed wood and likes taking what works and turning it into something new, like his most recent project – tree sculptures full of texture, bringing forward images within squared leaves he makes from scratch. These 3D circuits are reminiscent of his circuit series, but illustrate a new spin on the concept. He screen prints using a silkscreen, always color by color, and later distresses his work with a sander. Later this year, Redford’s work will be used in the Younger furniture gallery in High Point, NC. This innovative artist encourages his species to stop ignoring all “the simplicity that gets taken for granted… Look at the birds. They don’t care; they’re just enjoying the view.” And we are too!

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