Artist Profile: Joe Iurato

Cedar Grove, Essex County

Born and based in Central Jersey, Joe Iurato (b. 1973) has attained global acclaim for his splendidly crafted,  multilayered stencils and his alluring, small, spray-painted wooden cutouts that surface in a wide range  of settings. 

While coming of age in the 80s, Joe embraced both the B-boy and skateboarding cultures, exposing  himself to a variety of urban art styles and techniques. And although he was actively drawing and  painting in a wide spectrum of styles from a young age, he had almost never shared his work with others. 

“I always secluded myself with my art,” he recalls. “I never really liked to show it to anyone. But being  able to share it publicly without revealing my identity appealed to me.” Then in 2006, while working for Urban Climber magazine in Soho, Joe occasionally slapped small stencil works up around that  neighborhood during his lunch breaks. “While exploring my surroundings, I had noticed stencil art  by both Shepard Fairey and Banksy on the streets of Soho,” he explains. “Eventually, the inspiration  outweighed the hesitation, and I gave it a shot.” 

Presently, both Joe’s small, wooden figures and large murals are mostly inspired by his everyday  experiences, particularly as the father of two sons. The children featured in Joe’s artworks are  adventurous, playful, and curious. Occasionally sullen and sulky in response to their circumstances,  they are far more often sprightly and spirited. And since the onset of the pandemic, they have become  increasingly engaged with technology. Surfacing randomly in a range of site-specific spaces—from  fences and fire hydrants to window ledges and rooftops—the small cutouts also reflect the artist’s  ventures as a B-boy, skater, and climber.  

Driven by his boundless creative instincts, imagination, and passions, Joe Iurato transforms our world  into a wondrous playground, fusing a range of media and techniques from photography and print to  spray-painted murals and installation art. A visual storyteller, he delights us with his universal narratives. 

Joe has also participated in numerous extensive public art projects. His recent ones include an  installation of murals and sculptures at Franklin Alley in Troy, New York, and another called Beyond  the Walls in Deep Ellum, Texas. In both communities, Joe developed a close relationship with its local  residents, and it is that exchange that informed his artwork. 

And while Joe Iurato has been busy sharing his talents, experiences, and visions publicly, the commercial  world has taken note. Among his many clients are the NFL, Kenneth Cole, GQ, the NBA, NBC’s Sunday  Night Football, Sprite, USA Network, Nickelodeon, and Paramount Pictures. His artwork has also been  featured in countless art exhibitions, both solo and group, in the US and in Europe.

 

Joe Iurato is a featured artist in On and Off the Streets: Urban Art New Jersey.


Generous support for On and Off the Streets: Urban Art New Jersey is provided by the Joseph Robert Foundation and Loop Colors.
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Image Caption: Joe Iurato, Every Wall Is A Door , Aerosol, wooden cutout, acrylic latex paint, 2021, 10 ½’ x 11 ½’. Photo courtesy of Sara C. Mozeson

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