YabYum Seven: Joe Willie Smith

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All photos courtesy of Joe Willie Smith
Who are you and what do you do?

Joe Willie Smith, multimedia artist. I work in whatever medium is necessary to realize an idea. Presently I build ‘Sonic Sculptures’, basically sculpture that are amplified using piezo microphones, some are passive others require performance interaction. I recently completed a large scale, 32 ft, concrete and steel public art sculpture. The sculpture, commissioned by Harrison Properties, is located on the SW corner of Buckeye and 5th St.

How did you get your start?

I’ve been making art continuously since I was a child. My mother got me started weaving pot holders by the hundreds, painted plates, and toilet paper Carnation flowers. She would sell my creations and give me some of the money.

joe willie smith 05What inspires you?

I’m inspired by my surroundings. My work is usually created from the context of place.

What do you like about AZ?

I moved to Arizona in December 1987, from Youngstown, Ohio. Leaving Ohio during a major snow storm, I arrived in Phoenix, Arizona, 87 degrees. I was sold, no one mentioned the summers. I still love the southwest and Arizona for the fantastic skies, amazing landscapes and the amazing wealth of creative, talented friends. Arizona and the southwest never cease to inspire me.

joe willie smith 06Where can we see you(r) work? 

My public art can be seen at Matthew Henson Community Gardens, 7th Ave. and Buckeye Rd. and the SW corner of 5th St. and Buckeye Rd. I also perform on my Sonic Sculptures with Datura Ensemble, a improvisational Performance group.

What would you like to accomplish before you die?

I would like to have a solo exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

What is your mantra?

My mantra is ‘Where am I’.

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