Joel Mesler

Deploying words and images, Joel Mesler draws from childhood memories and life experiences to create artworks that meld his private impressions with cultural touchstones. Often evoking his youth in 1980s Los Angeles, his signature artistic style is characterized by bold colors, stylized patterns, bright figuration, and unique calligraphic scripts. Calling to mind diverse influences—from the imagined jungles of Henri Rousseau to forms found in 20th-century decorative arts—Mesler’s work offer a wry, vulnerable examination of the place where personal and popular iconography convene. Events in the artist’s life, both joys and personal traumas, form his greatest artistic inspiration. The motifs he employs recall his upbringing in Southern California—such as the patterned banana leaf wallpaper of the Beverly Hills Hotel, swimming pools, beach balls, balloons, disco balls, and donuts. His visually polished works undergird his connection to the legacy of Pop art, while his use of text places him in a lineage of artists including Ed Ruscha and Christopher Wool. Born in 1974 in Los Angeles, Mesler graduated from Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, California, and received his MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1999. Subsequently, he worked as an artist and art dealer in Los Angeles and New York for two decades before committing to his artistic practice. The artist’s pictorialism combines techniques gained throughout his dynamic career.

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