A series of energetic and vivid portraits that capture the character and integrity of rural life
Outsider artist Mendelson Joe is a painter, activist, musician, and renowned “self-taughter.” But to the people living in the sparsely populated region west of Algonquin Park, he is also a neighbour. With his latest book, Joe commemorates his neighbours in a series of portraits whose subjects range from Canadian musical icon Hawksley Workman to the man who installed Joe’s woodstove.
In Joe’s Neighbours, we get a glimpse into the lives of people who have strayed from the urban grid, and in Joe, we meet a “pathological painter” who is engaged with his community. Viewed through Joe’s idiosyncratic lens, rural Canadian life comes alive, and we meet a hub of artists, activists, and offbeat characters who truly embody Joe’s vision of neighbourliness.
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Mendelson Joe was initially known (then, as Joe Mendelson) as part of McKenna Mendelson Mainline, an early 1990s blues band best-known for their album Stink. From the mid-90s on, Joe developed as a painter. He was captured in the biography Alien: The Strange Life and Times of Mendelson Joe, written by Nadia Halim. His paintings have been widely collected and many are reproduced in a series, Joe’s ____. Joe died in February 2023 at the age of 78.6. A tribute evening was held March 28, 2023 and featured 18 writers, singers, friends, and assorted riffraff. 10-4.
Published: March 2016
Dimensions: 6 x 9 in.
“Mendelson Joe’s latest portrait collection is fascinating and endearing, displaying a talent for both painting and writing, while proving that even the simplest of interactions can brighten the lives of those around us.” — Scene Magazine