Joel Barr


Born in Miami and raised in Orlando, Florida, Joel Barr graduated magna cum laude from Duke University with a B.A. degree in English and Economics and earned a masters in City Planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He left an early career in city planning to run his family’s business, Barr Display, in Orlando, and during those years began writing full time. His novel, Chapters and Verse, was published along with his poetry and non-fiction essays.

Joel began painting in his early forties, drawn by his experience of the intense blues of the skies and water and fiery sunsets in his native Florida. Initially, he enrolled in workshops at the Maitland Art Center near Orlando, and he has continued to study, being largely self-taught. Joel works exclusively in oils, which lend vibrant, natural expression to his work.

His bold, contemporary canvases invite the viewer to join him in exploring a world of the imagination and the human spirit, one that is at times surreal, and frequently symbolic. As Joel says: If I were to ask anything of the viewer, it would be that they bring their own thoughts, questions, investigations, and heart to bear on what they see in my work.

Joel’s work is represented in public, corporate, and private collections in the United States, Canada, England, and Mexico, as well as galleries in Tennessee, North Carolina, and Florida. He lives in Atlanta with his wife, Grace, a writer, and paints full time as part of a consortium of artists at Above Ground Studios in nearby Chamblee.