I was born in Hoopeston, Ill in the year of 1959, Jan. 12. First son of 3 siblings. I took art in Hoopeston JR. HIgh and In SR.. High , After graduating I attended IllInoIs State UnIversIty where I majored in Art. I moved to San Francisco where I continued painting on my own.. Four Years Later I moved to L..A. In 1983, I began sellIng work on my own, It was beginner's luck of an emerging artist and the word got out...... I moved into a large StudIo .....and sold an amazing amount of work. I did shows for Fashion weeks In Downtown L.A,, ... showed in Downtown artist's shows . I was one of the first artists to begin showing in restaurants and coffee houses back in 1984-94.I almost had a show a month. The response was like showing in a gallery..... there was so much exposure in L.A. that I became a known artist by selling lots of work. I was taken in by Patton /Duvall Gallery , L..A. ,C.A..... Dyanson Gallery, L.A CA.....Sherwood Gallery, Laguna Beach, Ron L.. Stevenson Gallery in La Jollya, A. Allen Gallery in Palm Springs and the Dianne Stevenette in Los Olivos......from the response I began showing in all these galleries at the same time. Showing in the Stiener Gallery in Miami Beach at the same time showing in the Susanne Brown Gallery in Scottsdale AR.,., Portland Oregon . At a certain point I had to face my HIV Status with a series of deadly diseases one right after the other It began with Encephalitis , losing my ability to walk, was told I need to move to a hospice, a month later I faced Lymphoma cancer with a lump in my neck, I caught it early or it would have moved to my brain.. that episode was 6 months of chemo - therapy. somehow through visual aids in L,.A. I found out about Visual Aids in N.Y.,N Y . I joined immediately and was chosen for different calendars and felt I was involved as I left most of my Galleries. Also at that point to stay relevant I did Illustrations monthly for the News Magazine "Positive Living". Four years later I received the special award of "Volunteer of the Year". I was very humbled. I was told through my working pro-bono with almost all the HIV organizations, that I had made a million dollars over the last 15 years for these organizations. As I got better I began non stop painting and through different agencies of the HIV Community sold many paintings and that landed me in Paris. for family reasons I moved back to Illinois and showed in the "Alley Gallery" in Danville Ill. As the family healed, I moved to Santa Fe , New Mexico, where I have taken up my non stop painting and now with enough paintings I am ready for a gallery , which I am looking for right now. My HIV is under control and in May it will be 28 years of having HIV/AIDS. I am still working with Visual Aids and still fundraising for Southwest Care Center. I am ready for any project that someone would like me to do. My artwork is below. I call my style Naive Whimsical pop art.
I picked up colorful crayons before I could walk or talk. I had an art teacher who took me under his wing through jr.-high and high school. and given me the option to explore my mind.... at such an early age was all my hungry artistic brain needed . He allowed me to use color and did not deny me. When I finally started selling my work, I began to realize that within my painting was a secret style. I realized I had developed a vocabulary and could choose from this vocabulary and build on this vocabulary by researching , but never losing the beginnings of the vocabulary, so I just developed a larger vocabulary to work from. I am always researching artists of the past.... hungrily searching for something that I could turn into my own. Even as I enjoy to paint whatever I feel at the time . I grow ... yet at the same time keep a promise to my clients that my work will stay recognizable. I keep the good unusual stuff for those clients who need something a bit different.. I am always with sketch book, now I have about 150, knowing that at anytime something may inspire me and I have to document it right away so I don't forget.. My work is for the most part recognizable, but I do love abstract and as I get older will show more and more abstract work. an audience is very picky and they sometimes try to keep you trapped in a style. How many artists have been in that category ....Rothko, Pollock, Kline, de Kooning, ,Davis, Leger, Calder, Modrian and the list goes on. It is an artist's trap. At some level you need to keep some bit of recognition so you can grow an audience. I have sold across the United States, It is important for the name Joe Monroe equal something. I don't feel trapped, because I work in many different medias. A quote I remember is that at some point the art lives for the artist and in that way the persona does all the living and it drags along the life of the artist and continues to live for him. Most of these artists live long lives.