We’ve hung Joe Finkler’s work at Vico since Day One, because we feel it perfectly encapsulates the atmosphere we want to create: lively, joyful, and above all, colorful. In fact, many of our guests assume that Joe’s works, with their vibrant colors and palette similar to our walls, was commissioned specifically for the space. But the fact is that we are simply kindred spirits.
What can an artist say after 50 years of being one? Well, it is work. It is fascinating and interesting and involves discipline and dedication and all of that leads to endless possibilities. I started off as a biochemistry major in college when by the third year, the formulas on the blackboard became paintings. I lost focus unless I transformed the laboratory to a studio where I began a journey to another kind of exploring.
The essence of it all was and still is a motivating factor. How, then, to proceed, especially during the early 1960’s in the aftermath of the abstract expressionists? I started with a backbone of a chicken and then proceeded to use the cube as a fundament form of essence. To succeed, I needed to study all the Masters of the Renaissance Period through the Impressionist and beyond. Paul Cezanne as the structuralist par excellence along with Van Gogh and Matisse for their color supremacy and Paul Klee for his wit and humor were major influences. That was not enough. There was and still is the need to gain a grasp of form which led to thousands of drawings of rocks, old machine parts and, finally, the human face with its variety of expression and mood.
It has been a long trial-and-error process with long gaps in my work as I wandered throughout the nation. I covered almost every state, testing the realities. Amazingly I have managed not to physically lose my work by finding storage spaces here and there. A few years ago, a place of my own.
Life can begin at 72 years old. Frank Lloyd Wright said he began his best year at 82 years old. Matisse would say the same thing. Monet, too. There is the crystalization to be conveyed…
For me art is a serious process… there is a lot of work involved. I approach the paper, the canvas, the notebook as an adventure, ready for the unexpected and at the same time, through daily discipline, forge a content. If well thought out it becomes a base of a new kind of evaluation. This becomes a means of exploration into the essence of time and space utilizing geometry, color and direction. Eventually after forty years of effort there comes an elevation which releases a whole new set of possibilities. The realization of those possibilities can be expressed with a set of large works.
I use art, also, to express humor resulting in over 4,000 human drawings and cartoons which I divided into book form. These volumes of 100-300 pages show the variableness of human relations and are divided into the following themes: Robots, State of Mind, Hats, Chairs, Hair Style, Auto and Human Shapes.