Profile -- Salt Lake City
"Joe Venus" continued from page 1
Joe settled down for awhile. He spent
his time between painting and drawing before he was faced with his next
adventure -- Rattlesnake Hunting. Joe became a member of the
National Rattlesnake Association, participating in the annual rattlesnake
roundup in Morris, Pennsylvania. Snakes captured by Joe were donated to
the Highland Park Zoo in Pittsburgh. Because of this unique hobby, Joe was often invited to speak and share
his films. In 1970 Joe took a trip to the mountains of Utah where
he fell in love with the majestic mountains and western lifestyle.
Two years later Joe and his wife Shirley
moved their family to Utah. In Utah Joe had the opportunity to turn
his boyhood dreams into a reality. He became a cowboy. With his big palomino
horse “Tommy Wig Bar” Joe rode with the Ute Rangers, the Utah Highway Patrol
Auxiliary Drill and events team, from 1974-1980. Joe Performed at events
across the Western states, became an accomplished rider and shared his
knowledge with a 4-H riding club, Called the “Thunderbirds”. Later Joe
also become a member of the Salt Lake City Police Palomino Posse. This
opportunity enabled Joe to share his skills with others. Joe came even
closer to being a cowboy when he became a member of the Days of 47 Rodeo
As a member of Days of 47, Joe was
able to not only share his horsemanship skills, but his artistic talents.
He produced the entire book, designed and painted the cover art for the
days of ‘47 Rodeo. In 1999, Joe designed the three new logos that replaced
the older rodeo insignia. He continues to be an integral part in the Rodeo.
His art has adorned over twenty annual covers of the Days of 47 Rodeo book
since 1980 and also regularly appears on the cover of Colorado Cowboy
Joe Venus also served for many years
as Chairman of the Days of 47 Western Heritage Invitational Art Show.
He recently had to resign this position to complete a 40 x 8 foot mural for the
CEU Prehistoric Museum in Price Utah, but he remains Director of the Days of
‘47 Rodeo fine arts show. For the past 8 years, he has also
served as supervisor of fine arts at the Utah State Fair. An integral part
of the Utah Artist community and a proponent of art being able to be viewed
by all, Joe has kept the Days of 47 Rodeo and Utah State Fair Fine Arts
exhibit ones that feature art that can be viewed by the entire family.
You will not find lewdness here. The art is a statement of talent rather
than of politics. Joe Venus has given opportunities to fine artists that
are just not available for artists who do not espouse the Mapplethorpe
Venus’s involvement in the arts is spurred by his personal creative endeavors.
With the Rodeo under his belt, the award-winning illustrator and painter
then immersed himself in the history of the Western landscapes, culture
and animals. Joe Venus, captures and creates on canvas wildlife in their
natural setting. The wisdom of mature animals with a cautious and
sensitive approach of everyday survival is an important feeling that is
significant in each painting. Feelings of wildlife curiosity, vision, listening
to unnatural sounds, contentment at rest, dominant power of authority and
prowess are components that are key elements in wildlife art. Sensitivity
and respect for wildlife and a deep feeling of compassion for vanishing
wildlife is another factor for recording wildlife on canvas. The many species
of wildlife on the brink of extinction will be preserved by the brush and
canvas of the wildlife artists of today.
While I looked over some of the photos
of Joe working with wildlife on location, Joe told me that he is
a big cat fan, remembering his visits to the Pittsburgh Zoo sketching the
wild felines. Joe works with many live critters. He wanted the “real
deal” so he met with Kodiak bear BART, which stands 9 1/2 feet tall and
also was the star of the 1989 movie, “The Bear”. The bear's trainer
placed a rock on the ground where Joe stood, then commanded the bear to
charge Joe and stop at the rock.
“Did it make you nervous I asked?”
His wife interrupted, “It made me nervous.” She then showed me pictures
of a mountain lion in her living room, sprawled out on the furniture. “You
can feel the weight of the bear coming at you” said Joe. “But it is part
of capturing the authenticity of the situation.”
Joe is also a soft-spoken man who
enjoys the rich culture of the Southwest. His art has brought together
the earlier, less busy time. Some of his prints depict early American Indians
propped next to photos of the valley during its industrial heyday at the
turn of the century. His art takes us on a journey back in time to
a prehistoric era, when the history of man was documented not by pen or
pencil on paper, but by chisel and hammer stone on the towering rock arms
of Mother Earth. Venus' paintings capture the history and soul of Utah's
first artists - the Fremont Indians. In The Fremonts 300 A.D and 1300 A.D,
he captures the beauty and simplicity of this ancient culture, when they
inhabited Nine Mile Canyon near Price, Utah.
Venus, artist and admirer of the Fremont artisans, has spent years learning
about this culture; from researching at the College of Eastern Utah Prehistoric
Museum, to exploring canyon dwellings and sandstone petroglyphs, all that
remain witness to this vanished society.
Joe Venus has had a full and exciting
life. He has been able to fulfill his dreams and he wants to help
others fulfill their own and so created a scholarship fund. The Joseph
Venus art scholarship is a full tuition, complete home study course from
the Art Instruction School on Minneapolis, Minnesota. Art Instruction schools
has been training artists since 1914.The Alumni include, Arnold Friedberg,
Clark Bronson, Valoy Eaton, and of course Joe Venus.
The Joseph S. Venus Art Scholarship
is valued at over $2,285, which covers the tuition for the course. The
course focuses on refining the student’s skills in the area of illustration
and design. All Amateur artist’s who submit work to the Utah State Fair
are eligible for this scholarship. Mr Venus juries scholarship entries.
The scholarship is awarded to one of the juried entrants. Entries are displayed
annually at the state fair in the Bonneville building.