Joseph Arthur’s first passion is the visual arts, yet he is better known for his musical talents after being discovered by Peter Gabriel in the mid-nineties. Arthur’s artwork is a spiritual quest expressed through form, lines, and color, involving a profound search for the ‘thread’ of life, binding even opposing forces of torment and beauty. As with Arthur’s music, evocative of such vivid imagery and emotion, his paintings dance with a similarity animated rhythm of form.

His artwork has received much attention from the artistic and musical community including a Grammy nomination for his album packaging for the 1999 release of Vacancy which led to the opening of his own gallery in Brooklyn, NY -- the MOMAR (Museum of Modern Arthur)

- MOMAR seeks to broaden the parameters of the fine art world by fostering a multi-disciplinary interaction among innovators in painting, music, poetry, performance and the visual arts.

- MOMAR encourages innovation and challenges convention in Art, but reveres the traditional artistic values of beauty, craft, spirituality and history.

- MOMAR rejects the notion that art can be valued or devalued on a purely commercial level.

- MOMAR seeks to create a new approach to art patronage that includes but extends beyond the conventions of financial support and criticism, and allows for nontraditional contributions to and from the community, including volunteering, charity work and education.

- MOMAR is founded on the principle that Art has a conscience, is relevant and can foment positive social change.  MOMAR believes that artists are responsible for illuminating truth.

- MOMAR answers the eternal question "What Is Art?" with another question: "what isn't?"

- MOMAR encourages interaction between artists and audience, and partners at will with like-minded organizations.

- MOMAR is finite.  It is not an ongoing concern.  Its building and its organization will disappear.

- MOMAR can, and will, party.

“I make art which reveals secret selves or secrets of the self
By being deeply personal I attempt to find something universal
To uncover the truth of what we are beneath the flesh and form
To commune with spirit in organic swirls and drive at the electricity expanding us all
Unconscious action
Or truth in movement
Call it a truth movement
I want something beyond myself
But I go thru myself to get there
I go thru myself to reach you
And hopefully find that place where we are one

I use air
And water
Ink and paper
When I paint I am the hand of nature giving man permission to be a flower
I follow the flower into death until it breathes new life into me and then itself again
I paint to uncover
And cover what was never there at all
I throw charcoal dust at the wall
And watch as the black blossom becomes something final and still
And then I rise from this meditation
Somehow new
Somehow complete
Charged by giving charge
Gifted by giving a gift
Enlightened to the fact that now nothing is something
And I was dancing in the arms of god”

- Joseph Arthur

My art is spiritual nerve.
It always bugs me when people say it looks like hair,
But this is the reason for 'wig'
In the center
Which like all fear,
Brings itself, upon itself,
That which we desire to avoid.
The correlation
Of hair and nerve
One alive
One dead
(Painted white and in the center of the room in a kiddie pool (where life comes to celebrate itself at the apex of youth and innocence))
The highest sensation of feeling
The raw
The unspeakably open
Where ecstasy and excruciating pain are one
And hair
The death
The dead thing
The drug history contained therein
A fake death
A painting
A fake life
Or the representation of something more than life
An exaggerated
Or enhanced version

How do you do that?
People always ask when they see my work
The only answer I give them
Doesn't that very question make it a thing of raging greatness?
They usually laugh or spit at my feet or want to slap me
But it remains true
Because mystery
Especially in this day
Of no mystery
Is of the utmost value

In my paintings
Or even alien life is represented
And the reaching for the beyond
In the wigs
An answer to my critics
A fake death
Something lower
In a cheap plastic pool
Where poor kids come to play
A middle finger in a room surrounded by ecstasy


The name
Yes there are wigs
But the real wig
The nerves open
The junkies fiending at dawn
Or lovers in orgasm
Or the mystic
Closing his eyes
As he looks toward the sun
All of them wigging
Not to mention
The alien visiting
This world and the next

Joseph Arthur – October 2008

"Painting might be impossible to write about
It's a place beyond words from where it comes
It's nature showing strange flowers
It's a drug that obliterates the self
It's a mirror in the spirit world
It's where the shadows come out to play
It's a shared hallucination
It's dream made material set ablaze in the night
Maybe it goes beyond everything else
Like playing a guitar without strings
It's a place man meets God and says
What the fuck
I love to paint
It's where I go to church"