Brentwood artist achieves international fame, two years after picking up brush

As the pandemic ravaged the globe, Joe Stublick’s world came crashing down.

His job as a sound engineer as director of event technology at the Melville Marriott was cut short indefinitely, his marriage dissolved, and he soon found himself living in his parents’ basement in Brentwood.

But it is there that he now creates paintings that attract international attention.

“It originally started as a hobby, something I wanted to get back into,” said Stublick, 35. “I desperately wanted creativity to be a part of my life again. It felt like everything went black and white in a mundane, uneventful way.

“If you had spoken to me around this time last year, I would have told you that my life had lost all meaning,” he continued. “I was painting pictures just to try not to think about those things.”

During his teenage years, Stublick contemplated his adult years as a musician. Playing music allowed him to “decorate time”, whereas now he “decorates space”, and it seems people prefer his adventures in the latter, he said. Stublick failed to achieve a successful record, but his paintings have made their way to exhibitions in New York, Spain and Italy, and will debut in France at the Carrousel du Louvre this fall.

“In 12 months, my works took me to Italy,” he said. “And in the 12 years I’ve been making music, my music has gotten me nowhere.”

Creativity lost and found

Throughout elementary school, Stublick developed a taste for animation and the art of comics, spawning a possible career direction at an early age.

“When I was younger I was always into art,” he said. “I drew before writing my name.”

But when he picked up his first guitar as a teenager, the art disappeared. He played in many bands before finding himself a girl and settling down. The work continued as a live sound engineer, which kept the music in his day-to-day life, but left a void where creativity once lurked.

It wasn’t until the pandemic hit, stripping him to the bare essentials, that art and creative expression returned to him.

“It started as a hobby, something I wanted to get back into,” he said. “I desperately wanted creativity to be a part of my life again. It felt like everything went black and white in a mundane, uneventful way.

“If you had spoken to me around this time last year, I would have told you that my life had lost all meaning,” he continued. “I was painting pictures just to try not to think about those things.”

Mess up

In 2020, he embarked for the first time on traditional brushwork with acrylic. Then he came across videos of painting, a style he had first learned about from his cousin years earlier.

Pouring paint involves first painting a canvas in a solid base coat, usually white or black. Once this layer dries, the artist pours the paints onto the canvas all at once, separately, in a shape or pattern or as they see fit.

Bypassing the brushes, Stublick tilts his canvases, invoking gravity to move his paintings. He also wields knives and even gathers a variety of household items, including dustpans, turntables, hair dryers, and even air compressors. When you use the latter tool, things get pretty messy, like Stublick’s bed, draped in a paint-covered quilt.

To make his paintings more interesting with a sense of depth, he mixes floetrol, a latex-based compound, and silicone oil in different colors before casting.

“Now the density of that paint has changed,” Stublick explained. “So some paints will sit on top of others and break through and you’ll get all kinds of cool effects.”

For some finishing touches, Stublick occasionally adds gold flakes or random finishing colors onto the project. Finally, he coats the dried piece with a sealant, preserving and securing it.

Foreign Affairs

Going through Stublick’s work, there is a clear progression not only of his artistic abilities, but of his success. He omitted the base coats on many of his early smaller works, leaving them raw. More of his works also lack the final sealant.

Now all of his works are sealed in polyester casting resin, many of them for good reason: they need to be suitable for scanning and travel.

In the spring of 2021, a curator based in Italy contacted Stublick and invited him to the “El Dilla” art exhibition in Milan. The Brentwood artist’s abstractionist expressions were a perfect fit for the event, whose tile translates to “the unknown” or “what lies ahead.” His art appeared on touchscreen projections, allowing viewers to zoom in on every detail.

It was the first of many moments of disbelief for Stublick.

“I went there to see it with my own eyes because I still needed to know it was really real,” he said. “And I was also thinking, ‘This is either the only time it’s going to happen, so I should definitely go see it, or it’s the first in a long line and for the same reason, I should go see it. “

Stublick has also shipped works of art for display in Spain, Greece and France. Unfortunately, his work got stuck in customs and missed its place at the Carassel De Luve exhibition, for which he had been particularly excited when he received the invitation.

“You know when Bugs Bunny’s eyes popped out of his skull and his tongue popped out of his mouth?” he said. “It was one of those moments for me.”

The artist said his work was still on display digitally and the physical version was safely home. It could be exhibited in France this fall, he added.

“These paintings kind of saved my life”

The same weekend as the Carassel De Luve exhibition, Stublick exhibited artwork much closer to home at the New York Art Expo, where friends and family were able to view his work prominently in a leading city of art.

Stublick continues to expand his artistic endeavors and spread his name throughout the year. His work, a biography and his views on the impact of modern art on society will appear in “Art Anthology 22”, a book to be published in Madrid in July. He has also arranged for his art to appear in Barcelona in December for the “Brain Cake” exhibition organized by the MADS art gallery.

Stublick spent some time reflecting on his journey recently when he applied for a month-long residency at Volcanoes National Park in Hawaii. If selected, he will create, collaborate with other artists and give talks to tourists and others interested in his art.

“If I have to give talks, I can say that I must have been forced to reach the lowest point of my entire life to really ask myself what is important. “These paintings kind of saved my life, that’s how depressed I was. So I want to take all that positive energy that comes out of it and I want to redirect it out into the world, and the best way to do right now is to keep sharing it.

About Wesley Williamson

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