Artist Joel Armstrong was raised in Corpus Christi, TX, where he grew to love fishing, salt air, humidity and rust. He attended Texas Tech University, and spent over 20 years as both an illustrator and graphic designer. While art director of Group, a magazine for youth ministers, at the age of 39, Joel returned to College to receive his MFA in drawing from Colorado State University (2001). At CSU, Joel began to work in wire, and then became interested in Installation art. He has continued to do wire installation for almost 15 years after graduation. More recently, he has begun working with nickel/silver wire, rust and gold paintings, as well as aluminum public art pieces. He currently teaches drawing and illustration at John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Arkansas. He is married to an artist, with 3 adult children.
As an installation artist, the entire gallery becomes my canvas. My art is an extension of real life and offers connections with memories, feelings, and expressions that the steady sound of a sprinkler can resurrect, or the bright sounds a happy bird can bring to mind. I tell stories that reflect our human experience.
In graduate school, I questioned the idea of what a drawing is, or can be. Instead of traditional materials, I chose baling wire, because it most naturally defined me. The sturdiness of the metal, combined with its soft subtle curves makes wire a great drawing instrument. I create wire drawings of everyday items, which I finish off with a rust patina that intentionally references back to my childhood memories of living on the gulf coast of Texas.
Time and space are integral to my compositions. I collect wire drawings into gatherings that either attach to the walls or suspend from the ceiling. I add sounds, light and sometimes even smells the work together with the drawings to create a multisensory environment. My aim is to make people feel at home and offer them time to absorb each piece and to be a part of something special, something bigger.
PUBLIC ART COMMISSIONS
2015 “Springs”, Siloam Springs, AR
SOLO AND COLLABORATIVE EXHIBITIONS
2015 Milestones, Café on Broadway, Siloam Springs, AR
Rust & Gold, JBU Student Art Gallery, Siloam Springs, AR
2014 Gifts of Art, University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor, MI
2013 Through the Eyes of a Child, Collaboration with 2nd grade class and Drawing II,
John Brown University, Siloam Springs, AR
2012 Clotheline, Fayetteville Underground, Featured Artist, Fayetteville, Arkansas
Lit Paths, John Brown University, Siloam Springs, AR
2011 Garage Sale, sUgAR Gallery, Bentonville, AR
2009 On the Line, a collaborative installation with Neil Ward, Living Arts, Tulsa, OK
Failing Hearts, a collaborative installation with Neil Ward, Living Arts, Tulsa, OK
2007 One Body, John Brown University, Siloam Springs, AR
2006 John Brown University Faculty Exhibit, JBU Art Dept. Gallery, Siloam Springs, AR
2005 It’s Time to Address’er Drawers, St. Brides Type Library, London, England
2003 Creativity and the Bipolar Mind, Access Gallery, Denver, CO
2001 Drawn and Quartered; a Bipolar Frame of Mind, Hatton Gallery, Ft. Collins, CO.
MFA Thesis Exhibition.
2000 Emersion) the Sign of Jonah, Lincoln Center, Ft. Collins, CO
1999 Drawings 1997-98, Ft. Collins MOCA, Ft. Collins, CO
Emersion) the Sign of Jonah, Mariani Gallery, Greeley, CO
Clothes Lines, Colorado State University, Ft. Collins, CO
2015 Bird. Art: The Artist’s Eye View of Birds, Bathhouse Cultural Center, Dallas, TX
Reclaimed, Retold. Crossroads Art Center, Richmond, VA
2013 Texas National 2013, Stephen F. Austin Univ., Nacagdoches, TX
Chandelier-An Exhibition of Illuminated Objects, Living Arts, Tulsa, OK
Art that lifts our Spirits, Manhattan Arts.com, New York. NY.
2012 Material Transformation, East Tennessee State University,
Johnson City, TN
2001 This American Lawn, Mesa Contemporary Arts Center, Mesa, AZ
Jurors Award: selected as part of two-year traveling exhibition.
2000 Home, Soil Gallery, Seattle, WA
Spark Juried Show 2000, Spark Gallery, Denver, CO
1998 Lines Into Shapes, Art Center of Estes Park, Estes Park, CO
Pleiades Gallery, 16th Annual Juried Exhibition, New York, NY. Juror: Ivan Karp.
WOW, Core Art Gallery, Denver, CO
1997 Spark Juried Show 1997, Spark Gallery, Denver, CO
Colorado Open, Foothills Art Center, Golden, CO
Figurative Show, Core Art Gallery, Denver, CO. Jurors Choice Award.
Creative Arts Symposium, Colorado State University, Ft Collins, CO
1993 Colorado/Wyoming Biennial, One West Art Center, Ft Collins, CO
1989 Dallas Society of Illustrators, Dallas, TX
1987 Illustration/Dallas, John Brown University, Siloam Springs, AR
Dallas Society of Illustrators, Dallas, TX
1986 Critics Choice, Dallas, TX
Texas Fine Art Association—Citation, Dallas, TX
1985 Dallas Society of Illustrators, Dallas, TX
1984 Dallas Society of Illustrators, Dallas, TX
1983 Dallas Society of Illustrators, Dallas, TX
1981 New York Society of Illustrators, Student Exhibition, NY, NY
Dallas Society of Visual Communications, Student Exhibition, Dallas, TX
Tienniel, New Orleans Art Center, New Orleans, LA
1979 Montessori School Artist Invitation, Fayetteville, AR
National Student Graphic Arts Exhibition, Washington, DC
Northwest Arkansas Artists Exhibition, Fayetteville, AR . Honorable Mention.
11th Annual Arkansas Artists Exhibition, Pine Bluff, AR
1978 20th National Sun Carnival Art Exhibition, El Paso Museum of Art, El Paso, TX
Texas College Art Exhibition, Dallas, TX
1977 Works on Paper, San Marcos, TX
2011 Garage Sale, a wire based installation by Joel Armstrong,
2009 WIRED!, Self-Published, 2009.
2010 Armstrong proves victorious in bipolar battle, The Threefold Advocate, 2010.
2009 John O’Reilly and Tony Linkson, Inspiration by Storytelling, Recharge Your Design
Batteries, How Press. May, 2009
Nadia Russ, 21st Century Art: Compendium of New Millinnium Contemporary
Art, Neopoprealism. August, 2009.
2008 Annie Melion, iATC’s Member Artist Feature—Joel Armstrong, Art Trader Magazine,
Issue 2, Spring, 2008.
Sal Scheibe, The Best of IllustratedATC.com, Illustrated ATCs.com. August 2008.
2007 Armstrong uses baling wire art to build community, Arkansas Democrat Gazette, 2007.
Artist Drawn to New Dimensions, Northwest Arkansas Times, 2007.
All in one, Northwest Arkansas Times, 2007.
Joel Armstrong draws an intimate portrait of JBU art department, What’s Up!— Northwest Arkansas Times, 2007.
2006 Professor bends wire art into campus installation, The Threefold Advocate, 2006.
2005 Joel Armstrong, Drawn and Quartered, a Bipolar State of Mind. CIVASEEN,
Christians in the Visual Arts, Fall 2005.
Drawing with wire, Our Town—The Morning News, 2005.
JBU art show opens Tuesday, Arkansas Democrat Gazette, 2005.
2004 Art in London, Herald Leader, 2004.
2000 Wired; Artist’s touches evoke memories, Loveland Reporter Herald, 2000.
Mow better blues, Newtimes, 2000.
American Lawn’ fills the eye, Reach, 2000.
2008 Inspiration through Collaboration, Paper presentation, St Brides Type Library, London,
2013 Glen West Workshop, Oil Pastels, Image Journal, Sante Fe, NM.
Art New England, Summer workshop, 100 drawings, Bennington, VT
2010 Glen East Workshop, Weaving Workshop, Image Journal, Amherst, MA.
2009 Glen Workshop, Collage Workshop, Image Journal, Sante Fe, NM.
2007 Glen Workshop, Assemblage workshop, Image Journal, Sante Fe, NM.
Art New England, Summer workshop, Wire Sculpture, Bennington, VT.
2006 Visual Arts Summer Workshop, Figure Drawing, CIVA, Gordon College, MA.
2005 Glen Workshop, Assemblage workshop, Image Journal, Sante Fe, NM.
1997-2011 MFA, Drawing, Colorado State University, Ft Collins, CO
1980-1981 East Texas State University, Commerce, TX
Graduate studies toward an MFA in Design and Illustration
1978-1979 University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR
Graduate studies toward an MFA in Drawing
1976-1978 BFA, Painting, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX
1974-1976 AA, Fine Art, Del Mar College, Corpus Christi, TX
AWARDS & GRANTS
2010 John Brown University Shipps Grant
Res Artis summer fellowship, Atliers Fourwinds, Aurielle, France, 2010.
2008-11 John Brown University Professional Summer Grant, Garage Sale
2008-09 John Brown University Shipps Grant for Neil Ward/Joel Armstrong collaboration
2006-07 John Brown University Shipps Grant for One Body Installation
2003-Present John Brown University, Siloam Springs, AR. Associate Professor of Visual Arts,
During my career at John Brown I have taught the following classes:
• Graphic Design I, II, III and IV
• Figure Drawing I and II
• Drawing I and II
• Illustration I, II and III
• Senior Project
• Senior Portfolio
• Mixed Media
• Fine Art Studio I, and II
• Senior Capstone Exhibition
2001-2003 Colorado State University, Adjunct Faculty in Graphic Design
1999-2000 Colorado State University, Graduate Assistant
• Intro to Drawing
• Intro to Figure drawing
1999-2000 Dallas Art Institute, Instructor
• Color Theory
• Intro to Design
• Life Drawing III
• Graphic Design
1979 University of Arkansas, Graduate Assistant
• Intro to Drawing
• Basic Fine Arts for Non-Majors
ADDITIONAL WORK HISTORY
1991-2000 Art Director, Group Publishing, Loveland, CO Responsible for the design of Group
Magazine, and Vital Ministry Magazine.
1990-91 Art Director, The Promotion Network, Dallas TX
• Frito Lay
• Pizza Hut
• Host International
• Mrs. Field Cookies
• Nathans’ Hot Dogs
1987-89 Art Director, Killion McCabe and Associates, Dallas, TX
Responsible for the design of Kids! Magazine, a Moody Monthly publication.
1986-87 Art Director, Texas Instruments, Dallas, TX
Responsible for design of military trade show displays.
1981-91 Freelance Illustrator, Clients included:
• Dallas Opera
• Carlton Cards
• Tabor Cards and Gifts
• Focus on the Family
• Moody Bible Institute
• Mansion on Turtle Creek
• Hotel Bel Air
• Neiman Marcus
1980-81 Art Director, Teledyne Merla, Garland, TX
Responsible for all collateral material and trade show displays.
EUROPEAN ART TOURS
2013 Co-led Student 2-week Art tour to Paris and Amsterdam
2008 Co-led Student 6-week Art tour to London
2005 Co-led Student 2-week Art tour to London and Paris