Between The Wrinkles - Interview with Joe Sorren
April 27, 2024
Joe Sorren, is a prominent figure in the Pop Surrealism movement, emerged in the early 21st century as a driving force behind this artistic wave born in the USA. Hailing from Chicago and enriched by life experiences in New York, Barcelona, and Florence, Sorren's journey in the world of painting began in 1989. With immense talent and a unique artistic vision, he swiftly rose to become one of the most influential artists within the pop surrealism scene.
His captivating works have not only captured the admiration of art enthusiasts but have also garnered the attention of Hollywood celebrities, making his pieces highly coveted and collected. Sorren's impact extends far beyond individual collectors; he has played a crucial role in propelling the success of the Pop Surrealist movement and has significantly shaped the course of new Surrealism in painting.
Pervaded by the most poetic imagery, his signature fading landscapes shaped with peculiar brushstrokes and his distinctive characters,  Sorren's art has served as a wellspring of inspiration for countless artists worldwide. His unique style and masterful storytelling have left an indelible mark on the art world, leaving aspiring creatives and seasoned artists alike deeply moved by his evocative and enigmatic creations.
Contemporary master of “emotion lighting”, Sorren paints with muted, but luminous, palette and golden-like oil colors that make the viewer feel transported into the realm of the canvas, a warm wool of soft textures. Sorren’s brushstrokes are like sunbeams that penetrate the foggy atmosphere of an ever-spring realm. His style is hyper-contemporary and hyper-impressionistic at the same time, a feature that characterizes his signature touch of color and makes his art widely recognisable worldwide.
Sorren creates layer upon layer of texture with oil paint upon his canvas until creatures and sceneries somehow captured by extreme emotion emerge with impressionistic brushstrokes, as if from the deepest meanderings of the Artist’s imagination. Sorren’s inspiration for his paintings comes from human behaviors, classic moments that he turns into romantic, everlasting fractions of time. “Since painting is a physical record of movement in time”, Sorren affirms, “brushstrokes are not unlike the grooves on a vinyl record-capturing not just the color and shape of a stroke, but the timbre; the energy and emotion experienced at the time it was painted”.
Sorren allows his artworks to evolve sensitivity naturally and subconsciously. The process of study and realisation may take even years and each new layer of paint, reflects the subject’s spiritual metamorphosis into new beings. A figure may develop into a hill or in a landscape; or perhaps a tree may morph into a human being. Mysterious creatures enclosed in their inaccessible ocean and absorbed into their simultaneously melancholic and joyful state, populate Joe Sorren’s large size paintings, which examine the wonders of nature and of the human spirit.
Always playing with new forms and palette, Sorren highlights the tender faces and gestures of his inimitable figures and generates his unique, living fairytales. By recording feelings of joy, he creates something like a sweet symphony coming out of our ordinary moments, which ultimately realises an idealistic freeze-frame belonging to modern life. Sorren’s emotional subjects are remarkably moving and able to step us back into the memorable and timeless serenity of childhood.
His artworks have appeared in various publications, including The New Yorker, Time and Rolling Stone and he has worked with media companies such as Warner Bros, Fox, and NBC. During the last 15 years, he has shown his artworks in solo exhibitions in Galleries and Museums both in the United States and abroad. In 2010, Sorren was featured in the exhibitions “Art from the New World” at the Bristol City Museum (UK), and “Pop Surrealism,” held at the Museum of Visual Arts Palazzo Collicola in Spoleto, (IT) curated by Dorothy Circus Gallery during the “Festival dei Due Mondi”.
1- Thank you for joining us, Joe, to discuss your latest series, "Between the Wrinkles." Your creative process is often described as organic, with paintings evolving their own narratives as you work. As a musician as well, do you see parallels between the improvisational nature of painting and the structure of a symphony? 


I do. The nature of my approach; working without sketches or plans, allowing the pieces to evolve and change as they find themselves, is sort of like a slow motion improv session.


2 - Your artworks often depict themes of balance and harmony amidst contrasting forces, such as day and night in pieces like "Morning Had Broken." What drives you to explore this equilibrium, and how do you navigate the interplay of opposing elements in your work?


Finding that balance, creating spaces where people can move between those contrasts, is one of the joys of making images.



3 - In your opinion, what serves as the primary wellspring of inspiration for your art: the tranquility of night, the energy of day, the trials of life, or the hope of a new beginning? 


Of those four? Is there an all the above, choice?


4 - How do these inspirations manifest in your creative process and the themes you explore in your paintings? 


I suppose all those sorts of things; the feeling of swimming on a hot day; the joy of being with those we love, and the follies that can happen in those moments; All sorts of things find a way into what i play with while painting.




5 - Your artistic technique is undeniably unique, blending elements of impressionism, abstraction, and a subtle pop art aesthetic. Could you walk us through the genesis of this distinctive style? 



Thank you, I really find myself drawn to how Dekooning handled paint, his use of pure colors that smear in glorious mud.; And the energy of his brushwork is just so potent. I feel similarly moved, as I am sure most of us are, by the impressionists. Their work remains so fresh, of the first to let the brush stoke become an important voice in the story, you know?


6 - What happens within the layers of your paintings?


When building up the layers, I am focused on the fluidity of whatever may be developing, doing my best to be open to what is being suggested, letting the concepts develop. 



7 - There's a complexity to your work that reveals itself upon closer examination, with layers of movement and texture beneath the surface. How do you approach the process of layering colors and textures in your paintings, and what do you hope viewers discover within these hidden depths? 


It’s like every piece presents a different set of questions, and as I work through the layers, it is just about really asking what the piece needs to create movement and texture in design and hopefully consideration in the narrative.


8 - How would you describe your artistic mission to someone who is familiar with a wide range of artistic styles and movements? What sets your work apart from others, and what do you believe distinguishes your artistic voice in the crowded landscape of contemporary art? 


I love that feeling when time dissappears and you are within the work while figuring it out. That is when I feel most on Purpose.  Is that a mission statement? (laughs)

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