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In the Employ of the Fur Trade
Joe Velázquez’ fascination with the emergence of our nation has led him to the exploration of the many stories that may have occurred during this short but colorful time in history. His focus is primarily on the fur trade era encompassing the Mountain Men, Voyageurs and the northern Native American cultures. He is diligent with the historical accuracy of the accouterments used in depicting the stories of this period in time while portraying the passion and tenacious spirits of the characters who may have traveled those trails.
Joe began his journey as a creative thinker very early in life. While his father was away from home during World War II, his mother would treat him with crayons and paper when she returned from her shopping trips. His penchant for art was reinforced throughout his high school years as he was sought after by acquaintances to create drawings of family members, sweethearts or movie heroes. Velázquez earned money for college by creating architectural delineations for local builders. This endeavor would play a significant role in his future as a professional fine artist. The accurate creation of the visual representation of a proposed building from floor plans, gave Velázquez a succinct understanding of perspective and an object’s relationship to its environment.
Joe attended Colorado State University in the early 60’s and was significantly influenced by one of his instructors, John Sorbie. Sorbie was a tremendous motivator for the serious student of art. Joe reminisces: “When I took his courses, it was as though he lit a rocket and I was riding it”.
Velázquez’ creative passion is the exploration of the human spirit … whether it is a by-gone moment in history or a snippet from yesterday’s fare. His personal challenge begins as he envisions the role light, shadow and shade will play in the accurate depiction of the scene emerging from his canvas. The play of light is what causes the mystery of form and shadow to become a visual feast, an emotional experience. Velázquez’ use of color depends on the ambiance of the story to be told. Sometimes his color usage is very bold and brilliant. Other times it is soft and monochromatic. The emerging story dictates the palette.
Velázquez enjoys plein air painting as an exercise for the analysis of nature’s palette. He feels there is no better way to study true color than being outdoors experiencing and observing the elements of nature at work.
Joe’s paintings are more than the telling of a story. They are a reminder of the fragility of the world and its people we treasure. When a painting is complete, Velázquez judges its success by the emotion it evokes from the viewer.
Joe and his wife Pam live and work in Colorado.
Colorado State Univ.; Fort Collins, CO 1960-1963
2013, Museum of the Mountain Man Proceedings of the 2012 Fur Trade Symposium - The 200th Anniversary of the Astorians, Sublette County Historical Society, 183 pages
2004, Monroe, Judy Chief Red Cloud, 1822-1909 - (Illustration by Joseph Velazquez), 32 pages
2003, Todd, Anne M Sitting Bull, 1831-1890 - (Illustration by Joseph Velazquez), 32 pages (color)
2003, Todd, Anne M Crazy Horse, 1842-1877 - (Illustration by Joseph Velazquez), 32 pages (color)
1985, Shipe, Muriel L. Mountain Green the Beautiful - Illustration by Joseph Velazquez, 361 pages (color)
Bennington Center for the Arts, Bennington, Vermont
Glenbow Museum, Calgery, Alberta
Leanin' Tree Museum of Western Art, Boulder, Colorado
Morris Museum, Augusta, Georgia
Palm Springs Desert Museum, Palm Springs, California
07/2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 - Coeur d'Alene Art Auction, Reno, NV
05/2009, 2010, 2011,2012, 2013 - Settler's West Summer show, Tucson, AZ
02/2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 - American Miniatures at Settler's West Gallery, Tucson, AZ
11/2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 - Settlers West Gallery, The Great American West Show
03/18/2009 - 03/21/2009 CM Russell Art Auction, Great Falls, MT
3/2012 – Western Masters Art Show and Auction, Great Falls, MT
11/2008, 2011 - Mountain Oyster Club Art Show, Tucson, AZ
09/2009, 2010, 2011, 2013 - Miniatures by the Lake, Coeur d'Alene, ID
Western Art Collector, May 2008; Artist Round-up in Tucson
Art of the West, January/February 2008; Memory Keeper
Southwest Art, 2004
West Lives On Galleries, Jackson, WY 307-734-2888; 1800-883-6080
Settlers West Galleries, Tucson, AZ 520-299-2607
Joseph E. Velázquez, CO 303-770-5639