joel armstrong artist bio
There has never been a time in my life that art has not been my focus. My professional background was as an illustrator, graphic designer, and professor, even though the actual creation of art always overlapped. I started as a painter and moved to colored pencils, from an undergraduate painting major to a drawing major in graduate school. I spent years as an illustrator and fine artist, working specifically with colored pencils. I still do a majority of my work in colored pencil.
As a drawing major at Colorado State, I was encouraged to give up the pencils and charcoal, so I worked with wire as a drawing medium. That started me on a track of doing wire drawings and creating wire-based installations. Mostly with baling wire, I eventually started using nickel/silver wire and solder for a completely different look and end product. I also began working with wire and paper, creating fun, affordable artwork with a broad appeal.
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 20 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 recently retired from teaching drawing and illustration at John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Arkansas, and currently resides and does the artwork in Silver City, NM. He is married to an artist, with 3 adult children and two grandchildren.
2015 “Springs”, Siloam Springs, AR
“Gaggle of Geese”, John Brown University Art Department, Siloam Springs, AR
JURIED AND CURATED EXHIBITIONS
2018 If You Only Knew, Old Courthouse Art Center, Woodstock IL.
Of A Feather, Ann Marie Sculpture Garden, and Art Center, Dowell, MD.
To Be Heard, Old Courthouse Art Center, Woodstock, IL.
2017 ART INC Exhibition, Art Center of the Ozarks, Springdale, AR.
Holiday Art Sale, Gallery at Midtown, Bentonville, AR.
23rd Annual ANA Regional Exhibit, Fayetteville, AR.
All Botanical, Contemporary Art Gallery Online, Best of Show-3D and Mixed Media
Word Jumble, bG Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
Sea of Art, bG Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
3rd Annual ‘Collaboration and Mixed Media’ Exhibition, Gallery at Center for Creative Education, West Palm Beach, FL
The Art of the Bloom, Cameron Art Museum, Wilmington, NC
2016 When Language Meets Art Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts, Lubbock, TX First Place Award.
2015 Bird. Art: The Artist’s Eye View of Birds, Bathhouse Cultural Center, Dallas, TX
Reclaimed, Retold. Crossroads Art Center, Richmond, VA
2014 Lines Into Shapes, Art Center of Estes Park, Estes Park, CO
2013 Texas National 2013, Stephen F. Austin Univ., Nacogdoches, 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 a 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. First Place, Drawing
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
SOLO AND COLLABORATIVE EXHIBITIONS
2020 Rust, Rocks, and Roses. Llano Art Guild Gallery, Llano, TX.
2022 It Figures!, Light Art Space, Silver City, NM.
2020 It's Time to Address'er Drawers, Light Art Space, Silver City, NM.
2019 CLOTHESlines, Light Art Space, Silver City, NM.
2018 It's Time to Address'er Drawers, The Art Gym, Denver, CO.
VORTEX: John Brown University, Siloam Springs, AR
It's Time to Address'er Drawers, Art Center of the Ozarks, Springdale, AR.
CLOTHESlines, LHUCA, Lott Gallery, Lubbock, TX.
2017 Rusted, Installation of much of my rust-inspired work. Stage 18. Fayetteville, AR
2016 Different Paths, Same Direction, JBU faculty show, Siloam Springs, AR
2015 Rust & Gold, Arsagas at the Depot, Fayetteville, AR
Milestones, Café on Broadway, Siloam Springs, AR
Rust & Gold, 100 Paintings 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 Clotheslines, 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
2011 Garage Sale, a wire-based installation by Joel Armstrong, Self-Published, 2011.
2009 WIRED!, Self-Published, 2009.
2020 "It’s time to Address’er Drawers” Desert Exposure https://www.desertexposure.com/ desertexposure/stories/its-time-to-addresser-drawers,3611
2015 Joel Armstrong: Mediums and Variations, online interview,
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 Millennium Contemporary Art, Neopop realism. August 2009.
2008 Annie Melion, ATC’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, England.
2015 Llano Workshop, Llano, TX.
2014 Llano Workshop, Llano, TX.
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.
100 Drawings. Art New England, Summer Workshop. Bennington, VT.
1997-2001 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, Ateliers 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
EUROPEAN ART TOURS
2017 Co-led Student 6 week Art Tour to Ireland and Italy
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
2003-2017 John Brown University, Siloam Springs, AR. Associate Professor of Visual Arts, During my career at John Brown I 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
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
Intro to Design
Life Drawing III
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. Clients included:
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 the design of military trade show displays.
1981-91 Freelance Illustrator, Clients included:
Artwork for Hotel Bel Air in Los Angeles
Tabor Cards and Gifts
Focus on the Family
Moody Bible Institute
Mansion on Turtle Creek
1980-81 Art Director, Teledyne Merla, Garland, TX. Responsible for all collateral material and trade show displays.