Since the beginning of the year, we’ve decided to honor those artists who hustle—who give their all at work, school, their full-time jobs and keep on keepin’ on in the art world through their creative minds and talents. Each month we select one artist who has shown the meaning of hustle. We’re a little late for the month of May and for that, we apologize. But don’t fear, we’re getting back on track and moving right along.
For the month of May, Joseph Josue “JOEMAMA” Mora was selected as the winner for this EXPO Collective honor. Joe has worked with us since last year, participating in multiple shows but most notably the Quetzal Art Fest in 2015 and most recently was one of the featured artists of The Brown Profile, an exhibit that was featured in the lineup of exhibitions for the Latino Art Now conference and the topic of conversation during a panel at the United Nations 7th Annual Global Forum in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Since last year, Joe has been the definition of hustle. As a current BFA student at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago of which his concentration is art education, Joe has worked hard to get himself into the school and pay for it. He’s held numerous fundraisers in exceptionally creative ways, has built a look and feel for himself exemplified during his Pilsen Outpost solo exhibition titled “Yearning” and has openly discussed his life as an undocumented student.
Regardless of the challenges that Joe has had to overcome to get where he is today, the development and execution of his artwork has not been sacrificed. Introducing art in new ways, whether they are installations like that of a brick wall, abstract photography using the juxtaposition of aprons or that of playing the role of a “butcher” that creates pieces of art upon request using supplies spotlighted in a fake refrigeration unit, Joe has the potential to speak volumes through his pieces.
We’re happy that his passions have manifested themselves in recent years and are looking forward to seeing what Joe creates in the coming months.
We did a little Q&A with Joe. Check it out, in his own words!
What are you most passionate about?
As of most recent, I am constantly thinking about how the concepts (immigration, family, and identity) in my work can be portrayed through different material, actions, and locations in an abstract form.
How do you feel that you live your life authentically?
I live my own authentic life through my own experiences, memories and past. Such things can be like what I’m currently doing, saying and making. I believe that everyone lives their own authentic life. I am not more or less authentic as someone else.
Do you live your life in the moment? How?
To an extent. I like to plan my creative processes by taking the time to measure, organize, and research. This helps me become less stressed, and helps me figure out what I like and don’t like in my artwork. Although some great outcomes do arrive through the “moment”, like an accidental smudge, I’m able to appreciate and learn from it. I also believe the purpose to make art is to reflect the times that the artist is living in, whether it’s personal, social or technical.
Where do you see yourself in 3 years? How about your artwork?
Honestly, my biggest goal right now is to graduate from SAIC. I finally made it. Now I have to leave it by graduating. Graduating means being the first in my family with a degree as an undocumented immigrant. With a BFA degree I intend to continue to teach after school art classes and work in a gallery as an art handler.
As far as my artwork goes, I know it will change. It’s changed so much in the past year. I hope to become more experimental with material and develop my performative practice. I also want to learn how to play and have fun with my art making. It’s important to make serious work, but there should be time for fun.