Joel’s murals and canvases feature his trademark eclectic mix of vibrant colors and intense imagery, exploring social topics and presenting the stories of those who are marginalized by society.
From the United States to Brazil, Cuba, Kenya, Poland, Mexico, Mozambique, El Salvador, Cape Verde, and most recently in a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan, Joel Jackson’s street paintings can be found all over the world. Joel’s murals and canvases, which explore social issues and tell the stories of those who are oppressed by society, display his signature eclectic blend of vivid colors and strong imagery. He organizes public art projects with young people from all over the world who are dealing with a variety of difficult life circumstances, such as prison, armed conflict, emotional and physical disorders, homelessness, and social exclusion. These young people gain valuable life skills and develop healthy community connections while creating public art that gives them a voice in a culture that often dismisses or excludes them.
Joel’s work combines acrylic and spray paint, stencil painting, and mosaics, which are layered in such a way that his many artistic influences, such as Abstract Art, modern Graffiti and Street Art styles, Mexican Muralism, tribal and traditional art forms from around the world, merge seamlessly. He frequently spends long periods of time living and working in the neighborhoods where his projects take place, immersing himself in the cultural fabric from which many of his creative topics are derived. He is fluent in English, Spanish, and Portuguese, and has recently started learning Arabic and Swahili.
Art & Social Action
Joel leads workshops with youth battling a range of difficult life circumstances, including incarceration, violent violence, mental and physical disabilities, poverty, social isolation, and living on the streets or in slums in Rio de Janeiro, Nairobi, and other cities, through his Action Ashé! Global Art & Social Action Initiative. These young people gain valuable life skills, form positive relationships with adults and the community, and create public art that gives them a voice in a world that often ignores or excludes them. They help design and construct murals that address social problems that are significant to them, such as immigration, refugee issues, domestic abuse, and drug addiction. Joel has developed a technique he calls “Expressive Group Painting,” in which everyone’s artistic expressions, from abstract splatters to poetry to sketches and hand prints, are combined to create a chaotic context that is then integrated into the mural’s key imagery. All should participate in the creative process in this way. Joel also employs a method of public art he calls “Journalistic Mural Art,” in which he and his collaborators do thorough research and conduct interviews to inform their mural designs. Joel’s projects enable young people to engage in the arts while also contributing to their communities, sharing stories from the margins of society that are all too often ignored…
Joel’s Action Ashé! programs include partnerships with a wide range of community groups, colleges, and non-profit organizations, including the International Rescue Committee (IRC), the United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI), the Boys & Girls Club, Amnesty International (who included Joel in their Human Rights Art Festival), and several other small local non-profits.
Joel’s work is strongly influenced by his volunteer work in various communities around the United States and overseas, including roles with a number of non-profit organizations. Joel has consulted with foster children, the disabled, refugees, the poor, and the mentally ill while teaching in juvenile detention centers. In a rehab facility in San Francisco, he spent four years treating “severely emotionally troubled” youth who were dealing with issues including abuse, prostitution, suicide, and drugs. Joel has worked as a teacher in El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, and the Brazilian slums (favelas), and speaks fluent Spanish and Portuguese. He served as an International Election Observer for El Salvador’s presidential election in 2004.
Joel had a tough time as a teenager and became a father while still in high school. Despite the fact that his relationship with his son’s mother did not work out, Joel has maintained a close relationship with his son and has always been involved in his life. Since his stepfather is in the military, his son has moved often, and Joel has driven long distances to see him, including moving across the country several times to be near enough to see him on a daily basis. His difficult experiences as a child and as a young father have had a significant impact on his community work with teenagers, as he empathizes with their challenges and works to give them hope for the future as they face incarceration, disabilities, poverty, and crime.
Joel’s Mural is a street art network that does so much more than just paint walls. We not only do the painting, but also curatorial work and festival management to make the world more colourful, vibrant and engaging one wall at a time. If you need any of these services for your company or organization, contact us today!