A few months back, I noticed a cool old-timey mural coming together on Pacific near Grand. Every time I passed it I thought “Damn, I’d love to interview the artist behind that.” Lo and behold, one day walking home from a delicious lunch at Banyan Cafe, I spotted the artist himself working on it! He was in the zone and had headphones on, so naturally I scared the shit out of him and aggressively demanded an interview. Here are the results of said assault.
JM: Hi! Who are you?
JW: I’m Joe Waks, I always tag my work with JoeWaks.com. I’m mostly a painter and printmaker, but I’ve been doing murals now for a couple of years. This was my opportunity be a part of the JC mural program, which I’m very honored and humbled to be a part of.
JM: How’d you get involved with the program?
JW: A coworker from my day job actually saw the opportunity on Fulop’s Twitter feed and was like “You should do this.” I knew about it, but I didn’t really know how to get involved. She called the office and got Brooke Hanson on the phone, they checked out my stuff, and they said yeah!
JM: Very cool.
JW: Initially I thought I’d only be doing a small portion of this wall, but they gave me the entire thing!
JM: Awesome, so tell me about the theme of this piece.
JW: My work is really influenced by advertising images. A lot of it is about capitalism, consumerism, that sort of thing. I try to be provocative, but I’m not advocating one way or another. I’m still a consumer myself, I have sixty pairs of sneakers *laughs*. I use mostly small time newspaper ads, which I used to pull using a microfiche at the library. Now I can pretty much get whatever I need on the internet.
JM: Your style is really cool, this is a great addition to the neighborhood. When you’re not painting, where do you hang in Jersey City?
JW: I like White Star, the one on Brunswick. 9th and Coles, Porta, Skinner’s Loft. I also love the old places; Barge Inn, Laico’s.
JM: All the new downtown folks don’t know about Laico’s, LOL.
JW: Yeah, and I’m sure the regulars there don’t want them to!
JM: True. Well, great talking to you. Thanks for taking the time out to do this!