My name is Joseph Ayers. I am an artist, educator, and curator. These three practices continually inform my ideas and work, and I am humbly, forever thankful to the artists, students and teachers whom I've worked with. Much of my personal inspiration wells from growing up in rural Gulf Coast Florida working as the son of a shrimper and handyman, and also from my experiences serving as an Electrical Lineman in the United States Air Force while I was stationed in Alaska throughout the 1990s. Following my enlisted service, I began to study Fine Art at the University of New Orleans with a focus in digital media, and afterward pursued a Masters of Fine Art from Hunter College City University of New York with a focus in Combined Media. As an MFA student I began making connections with my past through art making, and naturally focused on relationships I witnessed between the rapidly changing landscape and a modern renaissance of new technologies. Directly after Graduate School I began my teaching career, developing classes that fused together contemporary theory, analog, hands-on art making, and digital tools and techniques in compositing, video and animation. I currently live and work in the Hudson Valley of New York with my wife and daughter, and teach interdisciplinary courses Part Time at Parsons School of Design.
By combining traditional media and new technology, the aesthetic language in my work explores both connections and disparity between changing cultural and psychological perceptions. My hope is that my work raises questions about how we perceive the world around us, and how it is this perception that shapes our future. The subjects in my work vary from personal to political, often creating abstract narratives between disparate elements. I feel a strong connection to the Dada and Surrealist artists of the turn of the century, and their impulse to raise questions about conventions, challenge perceptions, and expand the borders of art, is at the core of my practice. Integrating found objects, live edge wood, repurposed building materials, new media devices and technology, video, sound and animation, as well as traditional drawing, painting and sculpture, my work subtly challenges what we are witnessing as the divide between the analogue and digital grows deeper.
During this uncertain and foreboding transition in modern history, I feel that my eclectic approach to art making is both vital and revelatory. It’s not easy to make sense of it all, but by combining disparate materials and ideas, refurbishing and reinventing cast-a-ways, and allowing my stream of consciousness to search out connections between personal experiences and a seemingly intangible reality, something essential manifests itself in the objects I produce.