The story behind every artist is unique, it presents the challenges and opportunities to discover talent and passion. The drive each person has to take upon an art is different. If for some it might be the natural choice because it runs in the family, for others it’s an extensive period of trial and error until they find a real passion.
That’s why every time somebody sends us their art we try to find the story behind it and discover the people who produce art. So below you’ll find Joe Bussell’s story as he tells it himself. He’s an American painter whose art has traveled several continents.
From the time, as I was a little kid, I used to hide behind the living room furniture and compulsively draw. I knew I was going to be an artist.
Though it didn’t get me out of little league baseball or music lessons, the art camp from 4th grade began a foundation.
So, in my High School years art making was my focus.
After receiving a BFA in Painting from Kansas University I moved to Boston to go to Grad School. Luckily I didn’t go, because I still felt I had a lot of exploring to do. A series of moves from coast to coast led to one art related job to the next, all the while maintaining my art practice.
My one divergence was in the 80’s. I worked in a hospice care for AIDS. After 5 years working in the hospice my work changed inside and out and I knew it was time to get an MFA in Painting. I decided to go to Washington University in St Louis. The Head of the Department at that time was Hylarie McMahon. She was brilliant. Even though Washington University didn’t offer me as much money as other schools and the facilities weren’t the best, Hylarie was the real deal and I knew I would gain the most by working with her.
I was given a full tuition waver after my second semester and was offered a second MFA in Ceramics and a teaching position. I thought I’m done. This is where I will spend the rest of my creative life.
Funny thing life, curve balls and all that. After several years of relative comfort, I was offered an opportunity to live and work in London. It was too good to pass up the opportunity so once again I packed up and relocated. After three years in London my remaining parent died and I had to come back to the Kansas City area to take care of my parent’s business affairs. I was in Kansas City long enough to realize I could actually afford a full time art practice.
Over the years of working in Kansas City I’ve received offers for gallery representation in New York City and Santa Fe, offers to exhibit in and work purchased by museums, a solo show in Rome and was the jurors’ pick in New American Painting. I even got married. But recently I was offered an exhibition in the Symphony Gallery, the largest gallery in The Gallery of the Pioneer Buffs constellation. For those that don’t know about Kansas in general or the Flint Hills specifically, I recommend reading Prairyerth.
Ans and Ton Haak are Art Professionals that immigrated to the US from the Netherlands. Over the last decade they have taken this very isolated area Matfield Green, KS and turned it into an artists’ haven. It’s been compared to a small Marfa. I would agree small in reputation, but large due to its natural, magical beauty.
The exhibition at the Symphony Gallery is scheduled in October. I will show paintings from the Scrape Series. The paintings are 72″ x 55″ Acrylic on Paper.”
So ladies and gentlemen, that’s how an artist story looks like. We’re extremely grateful to Joe for willing to share with us his development and journey. Can’t wait to see pictures from the exhibition at the Symphony Gallery. To keep track of his work you can check his website here.