Courtney Adair Johnson, artist and gallery director, TSU Art department
My favorite painting is Untitled (Almost There) by Joel Batey. I like a painting, a piece of artwork, to tell a story of the artist, a message, and hopefully to take the environment in consideration, and sometimes it’s just about being fun. The environment and reuse began to take on more importance in my personal art and life journey while I was at Plaza Art Materials in 2008, where I first meet Joel Batey. We worked together for about five years, while he lived and worked across from the store. He was the sweetest friend and a talented yet rowdy painter. He was always producing amazing new work, pushing himself forward and through new territory. Joel would work on any surface, the first person/artist I had ever met that marked with such confidence on everything. He truly inspired us around him. His free spirit, his mischief shined through in all his work.
I feel like I truly began collecting work after meeting Joel. I am excited to share his work with you and more work of his, as I am working on a January retrospective of Joel’s work at Tennessee State University’s Hiram Van Gordon Gallery. I will be assembling Joel’s work from collectors and friends that have amassed his work over the years.
Make friends with artists. Artists are awesome friends. Support artists. Support friends. Buy local. I personally try not to buy new. I support other artists that work from reused and sourced material. It makes me feel like I am not perpetuating destruction and capitalism. A small gesture.
Artist Bio: Joel Lamar Batey
Joel Lamar Batey was born in Nashville, Tennessee. He attended TSU, Nossi College of Art, and Watkins, and he credits Nashville artists James Threalkill and Michael McBride as mentors. Former Nashville galleries Ruby Green and Ovio hosted solo exhibitions of Batey’s work. He was last known to be residing in Florida.