Joe Hatton’s current focus is desert flora: how he sees and reacts to its color, shape and texture. In his processes of painting and collage-making, Joe attempts to tell a visual story of the cacti’s individual nature.
How many people can say they were born in Hollywood and their father owned the first Middle Eastern restaurant in the movie capital of the world? Not only that, but Joe is the youngest of six, with five older sisters. As youngster, he developed a natural aptitude for baseball and it quickly became a passion. After high school and five years in the Marine Corps, Joe was thrilled to play second base for the University of Arizona. Starting as a freshman was a dream come true, however, when he damaged his right shoulder, his career dream of playing in the major leagues came to an abrupt end. Now with a huge void in his life, he turned his attention to drawing and painting, replacing his love of sports and earning his Bachelor of Fine Arts at the UofA. Wanting further opportunity to study art while experiencing the Midwest, Joe attended Graduate School at the University of Iowa and got a Masters in Fine Art. He’s always regretted missing the filming of Field of Dreams in Iowa City and never getting to meet Shoeless Joe Jackson!
After graduation and searching for that elusive teaching job, Joe cut his teeth at California State College in Sacramento. Then, on a whim, he applied for an Artist-in-Residence Ford Foundation Grant through the University of Georgia, where he had the great fortune to focus solely on painting for an entire year. The grant included an incredible 11 weeks in Cortona, Italy, with the UGA Studies Abroad Program. For the next six years Joe enjoyed living in Athens, Georgia and teaching at the University, where he continued to develop his painting technique, began selling his artwork and participated in several group and solo shows.
After Athens, he returned to Southern California where he resided for the next 20 years. Desiring to simplify his life and pursue his art career, Joe returned to Tucson in 2005, where he became energized by its creative environment. Today, you’ll find Joe in his studio most of the time, except when he’s teaching at Pima Community College. For two years, Joe has been showing with Obsidian Gallery in Tucson’s St. Phillips Plaza. His work can also be seen in group shows at Davis Dominguez Gallery, Raices Taller, Tohono Chul Park and Dinnerware. One of Tucson’s most awaited arts event is the annual Open Studio Tour sponsored by the Tucson Pima Arts Council. Joe has been on the tour for six years running and has served as co-chair on the committee for the last two years. Joe also volunteers periodically on TPAC’s public art selection panel.