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.
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