JOE GUY ALLARD’s style of art is by no means traditional, but it’s
important, as a new generation is redefining our perception of art… His eclectic blend of styles is representative of a new direction in art; one influenced as much by design, new ideas, and pop culture as by traditional art techniques meshed with digital design. I met Joe at an arts show last summer and was very impressed by the depth of colors, textures, and imagery in his work… and followed-up with him recently to do this interview for The Father Life.
Married. Plus one awesomely stubborn 2-yr old girl. Im Anna!, she says.
Rochester, New York.
COULD YOU GIVE ME SOME BACKGROUND ON YOURSELF? WHERE ARE YOU FROM ORIGINALLY?
I’m originally from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. One Saturday night in Ottawa I met a beautiful girl named Heather from Rochester, NY in a seedy punk bar while she was in town helping a friend do some wedding dress shopping. She left for home that Sunday afternoon and it snowballed from there. Long distance phone calls turned into weekend visits, those turned into week long holidays, and then one day I packed my bags, sublet my apartment and here I am almost 3 years later. And somewhere in that time we got married and had a beautiful baby girl.
WHAT GOT YOU INTO ART? WHY DO YOU HAVE THE STYLE YOU DO?
I’ve been creating artwork in some form or another since I can remember. When I was in grade school I made cartoon strips, high school was painting and making ultra-low budget action movies, college was graphic design (which is what I do now by day to earns my cabbage), then a return to painting. I’ve only really started taking painting seriously for the last maybe 5 years.
Other than high school, I’ve never had any professional fine art
education, so I’ve had to fend for myself when it comes to technique, inventing stuff as I go along. I bet I do a lot of things the wrong way, and an artist with proper training might be appalled. But it works for me. That’s why I use a lot of different media and mediums in my work, Im constantly trying to figure things out or finding new ways to express the idea.
HOW HAS FATHERHOOD INFLUENCED YOUR ARTWORK?
When I first started taking painting seriously, we were just starting out and lived in a small two-bedroom apt (with a newborn). My “studio” was a small drafting table next to the couch in the cramped living room, so there was no privacy. TV might be on, people were visiting, Anna was crawling around grabbing stuff, playing with my feet. Very distracting.
But I love to paint, and I love my family so I didn’t care. My art started to reflect the distractions. Lots of small, different ideas and random imagery. I’d start with one idea, and move into another without finishing the first; then go back to it but with a different mindset than originally planned. So many distractions and inspirations, starts and stops. Now we’re in a new house, but I’ve kept my studio distracting because I’m so used to it. There are comfy chairs for other people, TV’s on, a play area in the corner for Anna, big window with a busy street, and a bunch of different pieces all in process. Now it’s kinda turned into my style. And I like it. I can work in a lot of small bursts.
HOW HAS YOUR PERSPECTIVE AS AN ARTIST INFLUENCED YOUR APPROACH TO FATHERHOOD/FAMILY LIFE?
I suppose I view challenges from a more creative standpoint. The part of my brain that solves artwork dilemmas also works well on ‘daddy problems.’ But then again, I might just be confusing it with normal male type problem-solving. Is wiping a few drops of spilled milk up off the floor with your sock/foot an artists creative fix or just a guy thing? I dunno. I also try to be really inclusive and laid back when it comes to blending my art side and my family side. Anna comes to shows and festivals, shes a big part of them, and has lots of great experiences. And because of that shes become a really laid back kid too. I just expect her to be a part of everything. I dont know if this is a change but Ive never wanted to spend more time with someone as much as I do with Anna. I love my wife terribly and my folks are great, but Annas hold on my attention is uncontrollable.
SOME PEOPLE CREATE ART FOR THEMSELVES, OTHERS CREATE ART WITH A PURPOSE IN MIND… WHATS YOUR ANGLE?
Im not out to create awareness or change the world. At least not yet anyway. Although Im really in awe of purpose-driven artwork and artists that are trying to make a difference, for right now I just love to paint. And paint anything, no matter the relevance. Although, as I grow as an artist, my inspirations are starting to come from resources that mean more to me, so maybe my art will start to hold more important messages.
YOURE CERTAINLY GETTING YOUR ARTWORK OUT THERE MORE NOW. WHERE ARE THINGS HEADED?
To be honest, I have little idea where Im headed with my artwork. I like to think that I have the freedom to let it evolve organically, to change direction on a whim. I have a vague idea of the direction Id like to take as far as my position in the art community, but thats always changing too. Ive recently discovered that theres a large group of people, whether from festivals or shows, that have a genuine interest in my stuff. More than I would have expected at such an early stage in my career. I love what I do, so Im naturally really stoked that Im not the only one.
Ben Murphy, founder of The Father Life, is an Adventure Athlete, Writer, and Wellness Advocate who used to be obese. You can ask him your questions at www.BenMurphyOnline.com. He lives in upstate New York with his wife and three daughters.