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"Giving everyone their fifteen bytes of fame".
October 2002
Page 3
Artist 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 committee.

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 Magazine.

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 crowds mentality. 

Joe 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.

Joe 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.

Alternative Venue -- Salt Lake City 
Caffe' Molise: Hidden Jewel of Fine Art & Italian Cuisine 
by Steve Coray

cafe molise

Caffe' Molise is a hidden jewel.  Hidden, because it's not on one of downtown's main arteries and without a big, obnoxious sign out front. Hidden, because it is in a small space and because the owners don't do a whole lot of advertising. A jewel, because it is truly fine dining at its best. A jewel, because the authentic Italian cuisine served there is as good as you can get in this area.

What's more, they have been an alternative venue for Utah artists since they opened nine years ago. Original owner Shelley DeProto had a number of artist friends and wanted to support them, while decorating her restaurant. That attitude of supporting the local arts now includes hosting live jazz artists as well.

molise interior

Still showing primarily Utah artists, Caffe' Molise takes no commissions, asking only a waiver of liability. Deproto and new co-owner/chef Fred Moesinger accept slides from interested artists and often take referrals from Pam O'Mara of the neighboring Utah Artist Hands gallery. Accepted artwork usually hangs for about a month. The work of Sarah Shelton is up through October, to be followed by the Italian landscapes of Shawn Rossiter in November.

While weather allows, the cafe spills out onto Dinwoody Plaza, with its ivy-covered walls and lovely trees. Caffe' Molise takes reservations at 364-8833 and is located at 55 West 100 South in Salt Lake City (directly South of Crossroads Mall). It is open for lunch Mon-Fri from 11:30-2:00 and for dinner Mon-Thu 5:30-9:00 and Fri-Sat from 5:30-10:00.

Exhibition Announcement -- Salt Lake City 

After dining on the fare at Caffe' Molise, stroll next door to Utah Artist Hands where, until November 12th, you'll find Kaziah Hancock as the featured artist.  Hancock's works arrive via a recent exhibition at the Springville Museum of Art.  Her "Unsung Heroes" series, depicting various laborers, from typists to mechanics, has received a good deal of acclaim in recent months.  See what all the fuss is about at 60 West 100 South in Salt Lake City.

Artists of Utah -- Salt Lake City 
Our regular Artists of Utah gathering will occur on Wednesday October 23rd at 1:00 at Caffe' Molise -- 55 West 100 South in Salt Lake City. Everyone is invited.  Our Artists of Utah gatherings are an opportunity for members of Utah's visual arts community to get together, chat, and enjoy lunch in one of our Alternative Venues.  An RSVP is not required to attend but will help us to let Caffe' Molise how many places to reserve.  RSVP at .

Caffe' Molise will validate parking at the Crossroads Mall.