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Rising Stars: Meet Joe Taveras

Today we’d like to introduce you to Joe Taveras.

Joe Taveras

Hi Joe, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I have always been fascinated with discovery. At a young age, this manifested in a deep obsession for the medical sciences. Starting at age seven, I spent my evenings performing science experiments in a makeshift laboratory in my basement. I was captivated by the unknown, questioning everything. Around the same time, I began playing musical instruments and exploring expression as a method for understanding the subconscious. These interests persisted into high school, where I attended Providence High School in Burbank, volunteering at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center as part of the school’s Medical Focus Program. My fascination for the sciences shifted to Psychology, which I studied during my time at Boston College. Following my time in Boston, I got an opportunity to help launch the robotics company Temi in New York City. Temi, whose primary investors were on the founding team of Alibaba, built the world’s first personal robotics platform. I was tasked with spreading the technology into a wide variety of industries, including Healthcare, Retail, Hospitality, and more. This meant that I was on a plane several times a week, bringing the robot to different corners of the world. From Tokyo to Melbourne, Vancouver, and Berlin, I introduced this futuristic technology to thousands of people. Over time, I got to know the robot and its many components from the inside out. This input grew and grew in my subconscious until February of 2020, when Temi moved their headquarters out of NYC to Shenzhen, China, effectively terminating my entire team.

On my first day without a job, I decided to work on this paint-by-numbers artwork of the Buddha’s head that my Mother had given me. I spent 16 hours straight working on it, undergoing total Ego dissolution, and becoming completely entrenched with every step of the process. Upon completion, I felt a compulsion to place the artwork on a lamp such that the light shone through the canvas, revealing the infinite intricacies of each brushstroke. As soon as I did this, I experienced an epiphany that remains the most unexplainable moment of my entire life. That was the moment my art obsession was born. Despite having this massive new interest, I was still planning on becoming an independent robotics dealer. My Mother suggested that before I dive head first into this, I should go and visit her in Los Angeles for a week. During this visit, news of the growing COVID-19 Pandemic climbed and my trip was extended to two weeks, then three weeks, and then indefinitely. As soon as I knew that I was going to be isolated in place for an indefinite period of time, I decided to spend some of my last dollars on art supplies and turn my garage in Burbank into my first art studio. From March to July of 2020, I spent 18 hours every day painting. During this period, I experimented with a wide variety of subject matter, styles, and techniques. Slowly I honed in on the story that my subconscious needed to tell: a vision of a brighter tomorrow, with an acknowledgment of the dark shortcomings of the present – merging science fiction with the nonfiction of our everyday reality.

In July, I was relocated to Boston to be a robotics distributor for Connected Living, a company that was now distributing the Temi robot to Senior Living communities and Hospitals around the US to help with the pandemic. Once I got to Boston, I quickly found an art studio in the center of the SoWa Arts District. I’ll never forget selling my first two paintings to the first two people who walked into my studio. I knew that this was the start of a beautiful new chapter. I spent my days dealing robots and painting through the night, building my collector base day by day to people around the world. In February of 2021, after selling my first artwork for over $10K, I quit my job and dove head first into being a full-time artist. Just a couple of months later, in May of 2021, a feature article was published about my story in the Sunday paper of The Boston Globe. This was a major turning point in my career, and momentum continued to climb. My style became more and more complex, as my skill as a painter grew every day. With chaotic forms, expressive compositions, and vivid color palettes, I built artworks that I viewed as technology for self-actualization. In July, I was discovered by Galerie Michael – a gallery that sold artworks by some of my biggest inspirations (Picasso, Matisse, Miro, Warhol, Rembrandt, and more). Galerie Michael was on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills and they brought me on as one of their represented artists in September of 2021. I enjoyed taking trips back and forth to Los Angeles to create new works inspired by the city that I called home for so many years. In just one year of representation with Galerie Michael, they sold over 50 of my large artworks and I became their highest-selling artist in their 30-year history.

At the end of 2022, I upgraded my studio to a massive 2200 sq. foot warehouse and my work got larger and larger. Experimentation was at an all-time high, as I dove into sculpture, printmaking, and musical compositions. My artworks were getting collected by increasingly bigger collectors and celebrities around the globe. At the beginning of 2023, Galerie Michael closed and I became a free agent yet again. My business continued to grow as my art dealers kept distributing my work. My practice evolved, and in the Summer of 2023, I found a temporary summer studio: an entire building, complete with over ten rooms, each with a different energy for painting. Here I continued to develop my style and the story that I was looking to tell with my art. After moving out of this studio in September of 2023, I entered into a new chapter.

Now, I travel the world, from city to city, painting and exhibiting my work wherever I feel compelled to spread my vision. At the beginning of this month (November), I held my first exhibition in Paris, titled ‘HERE NOW’. Now I am working in Miami for a month before heading to New York. I am so grateful that my work resonates with so many and I can’t wait to see what lies next for me!

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Nothing in life comes easy. It is definitely challenging to be a full-time artist in a nation that doesn’t necessarily prioritize creative expression. Along the way, there have been major obstacles, and several times when it truly felt like my back was against the wall with nothing but art in front of me. From a financial standpoint, some months I am swarmed by collectors, while other months it can be crickets. This financial instability can be quite challenging. From a psychological standpoint, it can be difficult to still be a participating member of society after such a deep exploration of creating abstract art. Spending every day in the studio for months, completely entrenched in the manifestations of the subconscious can be dizzying and at times borderline psychotic. But it is in these moments of challenge, delusion, and abstraction that some of the most beautiful discoveries are made. I wouldn’t want it any other way – I know that these obstacles only help me grow stronger and become a better human.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
My practice is very fluid and evolving. I am inspired by everything, and my output is a direct extension of my input. Some days I paint realistic paintings in oil, other days I dive into complete abstraction with every material possible. Some days, I sculpt with clay, other days I create songs on the piano or choreograph dance routines. I never limit myself to any one form of expression as I am a firm believer that each corner of the brain has a different piece of the story to tell. All this being said, there are definitely throughlines to my work and underlying themes that unify my practice. I am deeply interested in the interconnectedness of all beings and matter, the infinite power of the human mind, and the fusion of science and philosophy. My creative practice is not for the creation of art but for the purpose of discovery. When I work, I intentionally remove my Ego and engage the subconscious mind, returning to Nature to reorganize matter in a way that I hope can unearth a new understanding of the Universe.

I am most known for my energetic style that often merges cubist aesthetics with an almost graffiti-like feeling. I am most proud of my limitless expression of my vision. I push myself every day to bring my vision to life and at times, this has led to me almost dying for my work; something I am not afraid of for a second. I believe in leaving it all out on the stage and I have fully donated my mind, body, and soul to the pursuit of artistic discovery. I think what sets me apart from other artists is that I never wanted to become a painter. One day I had never painted before, and the next day I was painting all day every day and this hasn’t ceased for three years. Something much greater than I has been moving through me and using my body as a vessel to convey a message. All I can do, as the vessel, is to work my hardest to keep the vessel alive and with enough resources to continue to allow that message to be channeled.

So maybe we end on discussing what matters most to you and why?
I love this question. To me, the thing that matters most is authentic expression. I hold a firm belief that everything in this Universe is interconnected and if you zoom out enough, a Oneness can be seen. But matter separated for a reason, and I believe that reason is to feel and to express, to explore, to love. Only through authentic expression of the truth in your soul can you move towards the upper limit of self-actualization. We only have so much time in this life, so don’t waste any time not speaking the truth that makes you YOU.

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