Joes’s introduction to the arts became early in his life in Buffalo, New York. His parents believed that besides regular schooling, the seven children of the family should be introduced into the world of music. He started out playing the clarinet but never cared for the piece meal restrictions of a musician performing classical music in an orchestra. However, his rebellion of that clarinet, nurtured his desire to continue in the woodwind category on the saxophone. He threw away his music books and began playing by ear.
His ability to sing, was included in his performances in a Polish Band in Buffalo at 15 years of age. His voice range carried from the upper to the lower octaves and he sang the songs of a number of popular musical artists that performed in the 50‘s and 60‘s.
At 17, Joe put his saxophone away to perform locally and joined the United States Navy. During his 20 year career, he was invited on stage by musicians in various countries in which he travelled or was stationed, to sing a song, or two. Along the way he met his wife a Canadian Artist, Arja Palonen . His last duty station, prior to his retirement as a Disabled American Combat Veteran, found him in the beautiful Province of Newfoundland, Canada. Arja, would go out and paint the entire area around Placentia and they would have to eventually open a portion of their home into a successful art gallery. Something unheard of in that part of Newfoundland.
After his retirement from the military, Arja and Joe packed up their bags and headed back toward Toronto. On the way they stopped and found a vacant retail building and residence combination on Highway #7, near Highway #37. It was a perfect place to sell Arja’s work and reside, so they opened the “Studio 737 Art Gallery” named after the location! Before long, they had 15 other artists and eventually growing in number to over 50 and housing over 1,000 original pieces of art, perhaps, the largest collection of “Original Canadian Art” for sale, anywhere in Canada. Because of Joe’s military work experience it helped him pull that Canadian Spirit out of their customers and it worked selling over 5,000 Original Canadian Paintings to over 3,000 customers. It was a 28-year success story, but had to unfortunately end in October 2015 due to Joe‘s health.
Joe again took out his saxophone and started to perform in 2010, as a one man show in Ontario and Florida. All for the funding in support of the local Kiwanis Clubs here as well in Florida under the stage name “Saxxy Joe’s American Bandstand”.
After successfully selling and being so closely associated with art for over 28 years he felt drawn to express himself by picking up a brush as well and immersed himself into painting. Most artists start out with Realism and some gradually move over to Impressionism and Abstract work. However, Joe got into Abstract art immediately. He applied himself for some tutoring on the Internet and from the experience of some fantastic abstract artists. His mentor was George Speck, the shapes and colours that George applied in his work moved Joe in that direction. Although, Joe was inspired by Speck’s work, he has developed his own style which is very recognizable in most of his work, a separation of colours by darker colours and borders, some of the most simplistic forms, yet interconnected in many instances. In some of his larger pieces, he hides various forms, he tries to extract a bit of wonderment in the viewer. Perhaps, they may ask: “What did he see in that piece that he painted, or even, why did he paint it?” That is really the intent of abstract art, to make one wonder. In any event, that painting just may compliment your home or office.
You can find Joe’s work in both The United States and Canada, under his stage name which he signs on the front of each piece he completes, “SAXXY” .
ARTWORK BY JOE KUREK
*PAINTINGS NOT AVAILABLE UNTIL APRIL, 2017