Do you stereotype artists? I think most of us have a vision of what an artist is supposed to be “like”, and in most cases, we might all be wrong. From my experience, artists are from all walks of life; some are self-taught, some educated, some are lifers, like me, (we disagreed that coloring on the living room walls was a bad idea).Then there is artist Joel Anderson, who found creativity in retirement.
Anderson, a Heights resident since 1997, is a mixed media artist and works primarily with encaustic. Encaustic dates back to the ancient Egyptians, a wax based paint composed of beeswax, resin and pigment; kept heated until applied and then reheated with tools or a heat gun. The results are as varied as there are paint mediums, but Anderson told me he has a bit of a twist on his creations.
“I have carried a part of my Information Technology background into my art by incorporating digital elements into the pieces,” Anderson said.
What’s your background?
“I am originally from Iowa. I got a Computer Engineering degree from Iowa State University, got a job here [in Houston] with Shell, and remained with them for 33 years before retiring two years ago,” Anderson said.
How did you “become” an artist?
“After retiring I envisioned myself being a woodworker,” Anderson said. “My retirement gift was a miter saw instead of a gold watch. But while surfing YouTube to learn how to make float frames I stumbled upon Jon Peter’s channel. He has a lot of wood working videos but also dabbles in art, and it was his encaustic videos that really hooked me on the medium and the possibilities of integrating digital graphics.
“Throughout my IT career my need to create art had burst through a few times – woodworking crafts, stained glass, acrylic paintings – but it seemed the ‘job’ always managed to eventually stifle the art,” Anderson said. “So when I finally retired I was able to let the creative side finally flourish.”
Anything new in the studio?
“I purchased a 3D printer last July, so my current work integrates 3D-printed objects into the encaustics.”
You know my favorite question, surprise us!
“I used to be a masters swimmer, and the culmination of that period in my life was a 12.5 mile swim around Key West.”
Anderson is a member artist at Archway Gallery, where some of his work is always on view. A solo reception was held in February and Anderson has the distinction of being the first solo encaustic artist to exhibit at Archway as well as the first one featuring 3D. His work is on view through March 3.
Archway Gallery, one of Houston’s and the nation’s oldest artist-owned and operated galleries, is located at 2305 Dunlavy and is open 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday – Saturday, and 1 – 5 p.m. Sunday.
“My current studio – Flagship Studio, Joel Anderson Art Global – is in actuality in my carport,” Anderson said laughing. “But I will be opening up a space in The Silos in the next couple of months. You can also find him at First Saturday Arts Market on March 5 and follow him on the web: JoelAndersonArt.com.
Cohen is the founder and manager of First Saturday Arts Market. Contact him at ArtValet@gmail.com or visit him on the web at ArtValet.com.