Q and A with Joseph Minek – Adjunct Faculty in Visual Communications and Design

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By Don Hill


How long have you taught at Tri-C, and what courses do you teach?

This semester I’m teaching Digital Imaging I and II. In the past, I’ve also taught Photography I and have been on the Tri-C faculty since August of 2013.

How would you describe your work?

The first [thing] I say when asked this question is “confusing.” It is technically photography that looks like drawings and paintings, but [it] is about photography. My work is about the possibilities of photographic materials – what I can create out of these materials once I’ve messed with them. In my newest work, for example, I expose color darkroom paper to the light and then apply photo chemicals. Applying chemicals intended for black and white processing to four-color paper for example, to create various colors and patterns. Soaking the paper, dumping or spraying chemicals on it or using an eyedropper creates different outcomes.

Tell me about your skateboard designs.

I’m really excited about this work. A friend who runs Colony Skate Company asks artists to sketch designs for his boards. The first time my friend did it, he commissioned three artists (me and two others) and the boards quickly sold out. I just finished a new design for his next series.

Every time I go skating, I see two or three people using Colony Skateboards with my graphics and enjoying saying something like “the artist who made that is a hack,” just to mess with them.

What are some predominant trends in photography that you find interesting?

One of the biggest trends I see is New Formalism; still lifes with really weird things put together such as a can of SpaghettiOs with a rubber glove coming out of it, with a bright yellow background, for example. What does this mean? It means nothing. Artists trying to make super involved statements. It makes me absolutely bonkers.

The other thing I see in commercial photography, is over-processed work. Personally, I think it is ridiculous.

What are the strengths of the Tri-C photography program? What would enhance it?

Jonathan Wayne has made sure to get a nice variation in the teaching faculty and that is a great strength. Jonathan worked for magazines and things like that. We have people like Tim Smith, who works for TRG as a retoucher and lighter; Eric Vaughn is a fine artist; and, you have people like me who are at the far end of the photography spectrum.

Enhancements? More full-time faculty.

Your show at 2731 Prospect, is there a particular theme or approach that will be highlighted in the work?

It is the newest work that I have been doing; work that I’ve created since January of this year. The main theme is the possibilities of photographic materials and how we can look at the material and photography differently. We look at photography and we always think of the image, not the paper, or the process. I want to explore how I can transform the materials to create something.

I will have 30 framed pieces for the show and will also show some sculptural pieces that I’ve had in my head for three or four years and this show gives me the opportunity to get them done. A couple of installation pieces too, I think.

It is going to be weird. People will walk in and see that it says “photographic work” and look at everything and say “what is this?!” One of the main things I like doing, is confusing people. Makes them think.


Joseph Minek’s solo show opens at the 2731 Prospect Gallery on Oct. 30, 2015 from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. More information about the show can be found at www.2731prospect.com and his skateboard works can be seen on Instagram (@colony_skateboards).

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