Ok so, on some occasions, it becomes necessary for me to go looking for information. A question is asked that needs to be answered. This week’s blog is just that kind of occasion.
Recently, we had an inquiry about our online logo, which can be found in the upper left hand corner of our website, The Joe Face. The person inquiring knew the artwork belonged to Jan Kunz, and wished for everyone to know more about the logo. Well, up until now, I hadn’t ever really wondered about the origin of the face. It’s the kind of thing that just belongs there, and seems it has always been there. So, you just enjoy it and never really think about its story.
But, when the question was raised, I became very curious and went looking for answers.
The first place to look was in the Marketing Deparment at Cheap Joe’s. Well, they are the ones who uploaded it, they must know where it came from. And sure enough, when I asked about the logo, I got my answer and the original art work!
Now, they say behind every Great Man, there is a Great Woman. And in this very special case, the meaning is a little different! Jan Kunz is the great woman artist, behind the Iconic “Cheap Joe” face. It seems Jan was teaching at Cheap Joe’s in 2006. As a demo, in her class, she painted “Cheap” Joe Miller’s portrait from a photograph. At the end of the workshop week, she had all of her students to sign the painting and presented it to Cheap Joe, himself. Joe was delighted with the special gift and it found a prominent place in his office. A couple of years later, when the Graphics Department was searching for a logo that resonated the spirit of Cheap Joe’s, the painting was re-discovered and seemed like the perfect solution! Cheap Joe’s contacted Jan for permission to use the logo and hence, was the birth of the Joe Face.
Jan is an amazing artist, especially in portrait painting. After spending her early years working as a commercial artist in California, she moved with her family to Oregon in 1980 and began painting full time with watercolors. She spent years developing her unique style and started teaching workshops all over the United States. Jan is a member of the Western Academy of Women Artists, and has published many books on watercolor painting and especially, painting from photographs and painting portraits. (like Joe’s!) She is currently represented by Signature Gallery in Brookings, OR. Jan has passed her love for painting on to her daughter Lynn Powers, who is an accomplished artist, herself. Lynn and her husband, Jim are the owners of Creative Catalyst Productions in Oregon, which produce and distribute art instructional videos across the nation. They are, indeed, sharing their passion for art through their business. There is no doubt that Jan and her husband Bill had very much to do with that.
I came across one of her books in my own personal collection. It just happens to be one of my favorites, “Painting Beautiful Watercolors from Photographs”. In this book, Jan makes no excuses for using photos as her chosen reference material for most of her paintings. As some artists will look down on the use of photographs, Jan, in fact, embraces the technique and goes into great detail as to how to get the best results. She explains how to photograph your subject, lighting your subject, using more than one photograph to compose a painting, how to transfer the design to your painting surface using projectors and copy machines, as well as, many other useful techniques and tricks of the trade. I found the book to be very informative and helpful in learning this wonderful skill. This was, by far, some of the best information I have found in one place. All of the books are filled with great information, however, I’m not sure if all of them are still in print, but they can, currently, be found on Amazon.com.
WHERE IN THE WORLD IS JOE?
Ok so, it just so happens, that last year, Cheap Joe’s was gearing up to attend the Florida Watercolor Society Trade Show in Orlando. Always a fun trip, the visit was sure to include being reunited with many old friends and meeting countless new ones. Now, Cheap Joe Miller is usually the main attraction at our booth, but on this occasion, Joe was unable to attend. So, a small band of three, Lori Inman, Web Alexander, and myself, loaded up a van and made our way down to the Sunshine State. It was anticipated, before leaving for the trip, that many people would be asking about Joe. Where is Joe? Is he here? We sure do miss him!” So, as a consolation to his absence, I printed off several of the life sized Joe Faces and mounted them on cardboard. One way or another, Joe would be with us in spirit, even if he was unable to make the trip. We would make sure Joe attended every event so he would know how much he was missed!
And that is what we did! Joe helped in the booth, greeting our guests and rubbing elbows with the artists. He went to dinner with our small group of friends. We even took Joe to Universal Studios and we had the time of our lives! Joe had a great time on all of the rides and shopping in the stores. He was everywhere! On the last night of the show, Joe attended the award’s ceremony, where he was in wonderful company with the Society’s top artists. Taylor Ikin, Carol Ann Sherman, Steve Rogers, Cathy Futral, Anne Abgott, and many more! We enjoyed the Awards ceremony, dined on great food, and danced the night away as Juror Nick Simmons provided the entertainment. It was a grand celebration! And even Joe had a great time! (Whether he knew it or not!)
THE JOE’S BIG ADVENTURE IN FLORIDA SCRAPBOOK-
It was a wonderful experience that would not have been made possible, without the creative and excellent artwork of Jan Kunz. I wonder what she would think if she knew her wonderful masterpiece had made so many people, so happy, especially Joe! Jan is and will always be a special friend and part of the Cheap Joe’s Family. Her artwork will always be cherished and respected as a big part of Cheap Joe’s history.
Thank You! Jan, for your giving heart and wonderful spirit. You are a treasure among artists and we will hold you in our hearts forever!
So, You never know where your art will take you, who it will touch, who it will inspire, whose life it will change. Just remember, your art will reflect who you are, it will project who you are, it is who you are.
So, put on a Happy Face and share it with the world, like Jan does!
Have a Happy Joe Face Day!
And Keep your Brushes Wet and your Canvas Colored!